Despite the government claims of Ontario tuition costing $2,500 as it relates to eligibility for free tuition, there are several programs at the college that exceed that amount.

At Algonquin, the most popular programs are practical nursing, welding and fabrication techniques, powerline technicians and pre-health, according to Jenna Boje, a client service representative at the Registrar’s Office. The average cost of the most popular programs is approximately $2,500 per semester.

At the same time, music industry arts – another popular program – charges an average of about $3,700 per semester.

However, the average tuition costs per semester do not include all costs to students. The three-year dental hygiene program, for example, charges students in the first year of the program domestic tuition fees of about $10,800, and nearly double that for international students.

On the other hand, the lowest tuitions are charged by programs taught entirely online, due to the fact that the cost of running them is significantly less. The average tuition of an online program is $1,600 per semester.

The average tuition is key for developing the Ontario Student Grant, which will be replacing other forms of student aid including OSAP by the 2017/18 school year.

Average tuition will be free for more than 150,000 low to middle-income students around the province whose families earn $50,000 or less. In addition to those, 170,000 students will have non-repayable aid that exceeds what they would have received previously from OSAP. Another 300,000 students will receive the same or more non-repayable aid than what was received from OSAP.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, there were just under 815,000 students in Ontario. This means that about 76 per cent of students will be assisted by the Ontario Student Grant.

Tanya Blazina, manager of Issues Management and Media Relation for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said in an email that about 250,000 students will have less debt than they would under OSAP.

Not all of the details have been finalized as to the design of the Ontario Student Grant, but it is projected to be on par with what is currently invested in student financial assistance, which is about $1.3 billion. The Ontario Student Grant will be supported by the education tax credits that are being eliminated.