Local college, university students brace as OSAP grants cut
“It will be tough, but we are up for the challenge.”
School administrators have been bracing for this challenge after an announcement from Queen's Park on Thursday.
The Ontario Progressive Conservative government announced they will be eliminating free tuition for students from low-income families while also cutting tuition fees by 10 percent next fall. A loss in revenue that the province says colleges and universities will have to absorb, for Georgian College in Barrie that equates to about four-million-dollars.
The government’s decision to scale back the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) grants has caught many students off guard, and more specifically, the decision to scrap free tuition for students from low-income families.
“I wouldn’t be graduating without it,” says one Lakehead University student. “I wouldn’t be able to cover my living expenses. All of it was covered. Knowing that future students in my position are not going to have as much help is really scary.”
Student associations are slamming the decision to roll back grants.
The vice president at Lakehead U in Orillia says, “Eliminating access to grants prohibits students who most need financial support from attending post-secondary.”
And when it comes to paying back their debt, some students worry about losing the six-month interest-free grace period.
“That really doesn’t leave enough time to find a job and have income after school to pay for OSAP.”
Georgian College says it will be at least a few weeks before they know exactly how this will affect students.
“My first priority will be to support our students,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College. “Both incoming and current students will have many questions about how these changes will affect them in both the short and medium term.”
- With files from The Canadian Press