Doug Ford managed to go from being praised by Ontario students to turning into their worst enemy in a matter of 48 hours earlier this week all because of tuition changes. While students had been celebrating a 10% reduction in tuition earlier this week, that celebration was cut short when OSAP changes were announced shortly after. Those changes are now being called a direct attack on low-income students and their rights to higher education.
Of all the changes that were announced, the ones causing the largest uproar have to do with the way OSAP will be doling out loans and grants. Now, OSAP will be specifically focusing on low-income families meaning less Ontario students will be eligible for OSAP loans. The grant-to-loan ratio has also changed meaning students can no longer receive more grants than they do loans.
Though the biggest change of all was to the grace period. Previously, students had a six-month-period after graduation where their loans didn't collect interest where students could attempt to get ahead of their debt. That grace period has now been wiped and students will be collecting interest on their loans from the second they shake their dean's hand and receive their diploma.
Naturally, students were livid about the changes and took to social media to air out their frustrations:
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
"Save $660"? How much will they now pay extra in OSAP loan & interest repayments?— Joanne Rousseau (@lilithj) 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
Though students aren't limiting themselves to social media as a Facebook group was quickly created calling for students to protest in person. Word has also been going around lecture halls where students are asking people to show up and support. As of right now, 13,000+ people are interested in attending the protest next Friday and 2,200+ are expected.
The protest will begin at Yonge-Dundas Square before the group marches towards Queen's Park and considering the projected attendance, it's clear there will be quite the commotion next week. If you are interested in getting involved you can check out the Facebook page by clicking here.
*Disclaimer: The cover photo in this article has been used for illustrative purposes.