Sudbury

New grant may help students afford steep medical school tuition

A Sudbury medical student says she's looking forward to applying for newly accessible provincial education grants, thanks to changes in the recent budget.

But Liberals want to ditch tuition, education tax credits — leaving some wondering about the the fine details

The tuition structure of postsecondary education, and especially professional programs like medical school, have too long favoured students from high income earning families, the Ontario Medical Student Association says. (nerdmeister, Flickr cc)

A Sudbury medical student says she's looking forward to applying for newly accessible provincial education grants, thanks to changes in the recent budget.

Talia Ryan, who is in her second year at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, as well as an executive on the Ontario Medical Students Association, said high costs currently prevent students from pursuing medicine.

"When that medical acceptance letter comes in the mail, the excitement is overwhelming, but the very first question is, 'can I do this financially?'"

Medical school costs about $23,000 each year in Ontario — and that doesn't include the cost of housing or living expenses.

Getting 30 per cent off tuition will help students with low incomes pursue higher education, Ryan said.

"This type of grant brings to light the idea of mal-distribution in medical students and giving opportunity to those of low socioeconomic status to apply for medicine instead of this being something of the elitist nature."

Nearly 40 per cent of Canadian medical students report graduating with more than $80,000 in debt, according to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.  

The "30 per cent off" Ontario Tuition Grant will become accessible to medical students in 2017-2018.

The Ontario Medical Students Association notes that it remains cautious in supporting the grant program, until details around eligibility are clarified by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities.

"The Ontario government's changes to the student financial support system might improve accessibility to undergraduate education and, indirectly, to medical schools. However, the potential impact of these changes on medical students themselves remains murky," the association stated in a press release last week.

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