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Requests for Proposals

​​​​​Requests for Proposals

​​​​​​​​​The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario supports evidence-based research within the scope of its mandate from:

  • Postsecondary research institutions and their affiliated institutions;
  • Public or non-profit organizations; and
  • Other individuals or organizations.

Below are listed all current requests for proposals (RFPs) issued by the Council.


High School Student and Parent Perceptions of OSAP​

RFP Number: 17/18-RFP-001
Proposed Budget Range of RFP: Maximum of $150,000
Issue Date of RFP: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Deadline for Questions or Clarifications to RFP: Thursday, April 27, 2017 by 4:00 pm EDT
Proposal Submission Deadline/Time: Thursday, May 18, 2017 by 4:00 pm EDT
HEQCO Contact for Enquiries Regarding RFP:​ 

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) is an independent agency of the Government of Ontario that conducts research and provides objective advice to government to improve the accessibility, quality and accountability of Ontario’s public colleges and universities. HEQCO employs a multifaceted research approach to inform the implementation of meaningful policies that improve postsecondary education in Ontario, Canada and around the world. 

As a government agency, HEQCO supports research that has an impact on policy makers, postsecondary institutions, students and the public. With this in mind, please describe in your proposal the dissemination strategy that you plan to use to share the results of your research. Please be as specific as possible, listing the avenues you will use, the communities you hope to target and the impact you hope your research will have.

Description of Assignment
Equitable access to postsecondary education is a research priority for HEQCO and a key focus for the Government of Ontario. Despite significant strides made in overall enrolment and attainment levels over the past several years, financial barriers continue to be one of the most persistent obstacles for students considering post-secondary, especially those who come from low-income households.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) is currently mid-way through a two-phased reform of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), designed to make post-secondary education (PSE) more accessible, affordable, and cost transparent. The most significant changes include the introduction of net tuition billing, and free tuition for students whose parents make less than $50,000 per year. One main objective of the OSAP reforms is to clarify for students that the true cost of attending post-secondary is actually lower than what many perceive it to be.

HEQCO is putting forth a series of RFPs seeking to evaluate the impact of OSAP’s transformation on students and parents’ perceptions of PSE affordability. This RFP invites proposals for a study that utilizes research surveys to examine Ontario high school students’ and parents’ perceptions of PSE costs, student financial aid services, and specifically, the new policy changes affecting OSAP. The parent survey can be administered separately or in tandem with the student survey. Both surveys should be ready to enter the field by fall 2017.

Research Questions:
Applicants are invited to submit proposals for a study that explores the questions of how student financial aid is perceived in Ontario and how this affects students’ decision-making when considering to attend postsecondary. Applicants should consider the following questions in their study:

  • How accurately do high school students and their parents perceive the costs of attending postsecondary?
  • Are high school students and their parents aware of available OSAP financial assistance? Do they understand the various elements of OSAP such as grants, loans, repayment, etc.?
  • In what ways do high school students and their parents’ perception of PSE costs and financial assistance relate to their PSE planning?
  • How much influence do parents’ perceptions of OSAP have on the students’ decision making?
  • ​What misinformation is circulating about OSAP? How does factually incorrect information affect perceptions of the program and the affordability of PSE?

In addition, applicants wishing to be considered for this RFP are asked to: 

  • Describe the proposed survey methodology, and its targeted population. This description should include sample questions, expected sample size, any foreseen sampling biases, and a detailed plan for reaching high school students and their parents. We would encourage a survey design that will allow for the linkage of student responses to their parents’ responses.
  • Provide a detailed project schedule that will accommodate the surveys entering the field by early fall 2017, regular project updates including key interim reports, and a final report delivered in spring 2018. Survey questions and methodology will need to be approved by HEQCO before entering the field. Submission of the raw data files will be required upon delivery of the final report.

The final report (approximately 40 pages) should be submitted within twelve months following the RFP closing date.

Download the full RFP Response Tem​plate​​