Back in January, the Ford government announced several Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) changes, including the elimination of the free tuition possibility for low-income students, elimination of the six-month grace period, increase loans-to-grants ratios for specific students, and changes in the income threshold and status of independent students. The changes also included a 10% tuition reduction.
On Wednesday, June 19th, students received e-mails from OSAP. They were told to log in the OSAP website and go to the message center because there were updates to their application status. After logging in, many post-secondary students across Ontario were in shock after checking their funding decisions. Some students were told that they were not qualified to receive funding, while others received less money with the majority being loans.
One student wrote on Twitter: “I am receiving HALF the amount of #OSAP funding that I received last year. I’m nearly in tears, as I worry about being able to afford school this year.” The tweet included a screenshot of her previous academic year funding, during which she received $13,218 with $5,717 being grants. As for this year, she will be receiving $6,861, only $789 are grants.
A 10% tuition reduction will alleviate students from paying hundreds of dollars. However, the OSAP changes will result in a reduction of thousands of dollars with more debt on the students’ shoulders. Even the low-income students are disadvantaged because their grants-to-loan ratio dropped. If this system remains valid, there will be an unfortunate shift in the Canadian educational system from one that is [relatively] based on merits to a one that is based on students’ ability to pay. The University experience will never be the same, and many students’ potentials will be submerge