Doug Ford faced a lot of controversies earlier this year when his Ontario government announced that they would be making a variety of changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for the upcoming school year. With OSAP being heavily relied on by students who are in post-secondary studies, many were angered to discover that some of these new changes were eliminating the free tuition program for low-income students. Now, some students are even claiming that the OSAP changes were so bad, that they can no longer afford school.
The 2019-2020 academic year is facing a lot of changes when it comes to how students are receiving help from OSAP. Some of the more notable changes that have been made are eliminating the free tuition program for low-income students and canceling the six-month interest-free grace period following graduation. However, these incentives are being replaced with 10 percent off tuition. Yet, students are arguing this is nowhere near enough.
In April, students were already starting to feel the stress of returning back to school, when they got their OSAP estimates. Many students noted that their estimates were much lower than the funding that they had received years before.
One student even claimed that she got a $2020 grant and $5000 loan from OSAP last year, while this year she would only be receiving an $1800 loan for the entire year.
Sooooo last year I got a $2020 grant from OSAP and a $5000 loan..... this year I will be receiving a $1800 loan. fo… https://t.co/WL8IR9j6Hz— Elizabeth McKenzie (@Elizabeth McKenzie) 1560197448
Grants aside, I've gone from having enough OSAP to cover tuition+books and living (left, last year), to not having… https://t.co/roMqjguNCX— Brianne Watkins (@Brianne Watkins) 1560952587
Now, as school season is back upon us, and students are starting to get billed for their tuition, it's starting to look like a lot of them will be unable to afford it due to these OSAP cuts.
According to CBC, University of Ottawa students are actually taking the year off, as they are unable to meet tuition costs under the new OSAP program.
One student, James Casey, who was heading into his third year in political science, told CBC that its "frustrating and very stressful" that he has to take the year off to make ends meet. With his grants being $2,000 less then it was the year before, it made tuition unaffordable.
While some students are taking the year off altogether, other students have announced that they will have to take a lighter course load so they can also balance a job to fill in the financial gaps.
One first-year student, Abiha Sajid is now struggling to find a part-time job to cover the rest of her tuition after OSAP wasn't able to cover it.
On top of this, pop sensation Taylor Swift was even seen helping out an Ontario student by giving her $6,000 to pay her tuition after she publicly announced she couldn't afford school this upcoming year.
However, while these changes seem to affect students in a negative light, there are no future changes to the program to be expected.