Despite what the Ontario government says is good news for students, Ontario students are petitioning Doug Ford's changes to OSAP that eliminate free tuition grants and the grace period for interest. The changes were announced alongside news of a 10% tuition cut. While students were initially excited about that, their mood quickly changed.
The 10% tuition cut is truly good news for all students, however, it comes at a very steep price. Now students from lower-income household will no longer have access to grants that would have made their tuition-free. Instead, they will now be given some grants, but even more, repayable loans that will collect interest.
This change isn't the one that students are most angry about, though. The biggest change to OSAP that is going to detrimentally every single Ontario student who receives OSAP is cutting the grace period.
Previously, students had six months after they graduated before their OSAP loans would start collecting interest. Now Doug Ford has scrapped that and instead, the loans will begin collecting interest the day that you graduate. It's this change that has prompted the creation of a petition by Ontario students.
The petition says that new graduates need time to get back on their feet before they can begin paying back their loans. It asks for 500 signatures and as of the morning of January 18th, it has almost met that target.
The petition isn't the only protest against these changes. Ontario students are livid about these changes and are taking to social media to express their feelings.
On Twitter, several students have specifically called out the changes to the OSAP grace period as the biggest problem with the new tuition framework.
@fordnation How are these cuts going to change anything!? With the current state of OSAP it is difficult to pay it back & barely afford tuition as a whole. Sir you have fucked over millions of students who now are forced to make a tough decision - school or debt. You don’t care.— Zain (@AnwariZainab) January 18, 2019
NOT impressed with the osap changes. How exactly is taking away the grace period for interest making it LESS complex for us???!!— Kamal (@KamalD_) January 18, 2019
Wow, okay, the changes to OSAP are awful all around, but removing the interest free 6 month grace period?! That is........ infuriating— Katie Versluis (@katieofavalon) January 18, 2019
On Facebook as well, students are expressing outrage and mostly disappointment. At Carleton University, for example, their student union president posted on Facebook saying that yesterday when the changes were announced, was a tough day for all Ontario students.
In his post, he also said that this is a time for everyone to stand together not just as students, but as residents or Ontario.
The changes to OSAP and to tuition are expected to come into place for the 2019-2020 school year, which would begin in September of this year.