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Tuition refunds, assistance to be available to college students

The Ontario government is offering full tuition refunds to students who withdraw from this semester due to the five-week long college strike.

The Ministry of Advanced Education says students will have two weeks from the resumption of classes Tuesday to decide whether they want to continue with a condensed semester.

The province has required colleges to establish dedicated student support funds with net savings from the strike that will assist students who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the strike.

Full-time domestic and international students will be eligible to receive up to $500 for unexpected costs they incurred, such as additional child care fees, rebooked train or bus tickets or January rent. Ontario expects that students will be able to apply to their college for financial assistance through the fund starting this week. Any strike-related support will not count against a student’s OSAP assessment.

Students who decide to withdraw from college because of the strike will receive a full tuition refund. Apprentices can also apply for a full refund of classroom fees if they are unable to complete their in-school training for reasons related to the strike.

The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017 was passed by the Ontario legislature Sunday to end the college labour dispute and return students to the classroom. All outstanding issues are to be referred to binding mediation-arbitration.

Students currently receiving OSAP who were likely to graduate before Dec. 31 of this year, and who have their current semester extended, will receive additional OSAP for the length of the extension. OSAP will start making payments for extensions in mid-December, after college extension plans are finalized.

Students currently receiving OSAP who have their winter semesters extended past the normal end date will also receive additional OSAP aid.

The Government of Canada has committed to partner with Ontario on the extended OSAP supports that help students impacted by the college strike.

This year, more than 210,000 full-time university and college students are receiving free tuition for the first time.

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