This morning, Doug Ford’s government announced new payment changes and funding for postsecondary education in Ontario. Getting rid of the free tuition grants and replacing them with 10% off tuition was only one of the many changes that were forced upon students for the upcoming year. Multiple OSAP changes were also announced outside of Queen’s Park this morning, and many students are now fearing how it is going to affect their futures.
The Ontario Government announced that OSAP will still be providing grants to students in the 2019-20 year, but the way that OSAP grants are distributed and collected will be done a little differently.
OSAP is now focusing directly on low-income families, ensuring that those who receive OSAP are those who are in financial need. This means that the number of Ontarians who have access to OSAP funding will dwindle, especially when it comes to the Ontario Student Grant.
The Government is reducing the family income threshold that is needed to make a student eligible for the Ontario Student Grant. This means that the amount a family makes has been lowered making it harder for students to be eligible for these student grants.
According to a statement from the Ontario government, there will be a "change the grant-to-loan ratio to a minimum of 50% loan from Ontario for students in second-entry programs" at publicly-assisted Ontario institutions and for students enrolled in postsecondary schools outside of Ontario. These include post-graduate college certificates, graduate degrees and law programs.
Yet, even though students will now receive more loans than grants, one of the biggest changes that seem to anger students the most is the fact that OSAP is now getting rid of the six-month interest-free grace period.
This grace period allows students to find a job and a steady income within the six months after they graduate without interest being collected on their student loans. The government has decided to now slash this and charge interest during this six-month grace period to “reduce complexity for students”.
This means that as soon as you graduate, the interest on your student loans begins to collect, regardless of whether or not you have a job lined up for you outside of school. This gives students less time to save up money and pay off their loans after they graduate.
Students from all around Ontario have taken to Twitter to express their anger over these changes. While the Doug Ford government ensures that these changes are to better help students afford tuition, many students disagree. Many students are actually stating that it will be harder for them to pay off their loans, or even attend University in the first place, after these changes.
These are devastating cuts and changes. I literally could not have attended university without OSAP. Ford is counting on students being too busy with classes and work to fight back, but I hope they do. #ONpse #onpoli https://t.co/rMOuLN2rBF— Elliot Worsfold (@ElliotWorsfold) January 17, 2019
"Save $660"? How much will they now pay extra in OSAP loan & interest repayments?— Joanne Rousseau (@lilithj) January 17, 2019
1. Interest on OSAP loans already kicked in right away — a disturbing fact many grads miss.— Kerry K. Taylor (@squawkfox) January 17, 2019
2. Removing the six month repayment grace period fails to give new grads a chance to find work.
3. Student debt is a growing emergency. I have friends still repaying and I’m GenX. 😭 https://t.co/7eKKTeFBCK
After this announcement we also know the fate of ‘Free Tuition’ under OSAP: it’s dead. That’s the funding that makes post-secondary possible for those with the grades but not the money to go, by covering the average tuition cost through grants. 8/— Theresa Lubowitz (@TheresaLubowitz) January 17, 2019
I waited 10 years to finally have the opportunity to attend university. I have already been angered by the recent Ford Government education cuts, but now OSAP? I am pissed.— 𝑬𝒍𝒍𝒆 𝑹𝒊𝒛𝒛𝒂 (@rizza_razzelle) January 17, 2019
DO NOT MESS WITH MY EDUCATION AND MY FUTURE. #ONPoli #ForTheStudents
How will getting rid of OSAP's interest free grace period help graduates be in "a strong position to start a prosperous career"— J.D. (@travoltafan9d7) January 17, 2019
I was a very grateful OSAP recipient. I spent 7 years in undergrad and grad school for a specialized career. I had significant loans. It took me 4 months to find a job in my field. Imagine if I had to pay back loans with nothing?— Ashley (@alour) January 17, 2019
Many students are starting to believe that this 10% off tuition isn't going to help them afford university when the free tuition grants and six-month interest-free grace period are what helped students attend university in the first place.
Source: Ontario Newsroom