Three years after the OSAP redesign, students struggle to make ends meet

Three years after the OSAP redesign, students struggle to make ends meet

I am the first [de ma famille] to go to university. […] Both of my parents, after high school, went to work. So I will be the first to test itsaid the 17-year-old who recently graduated from high school.

However, the day after her graduation ceremony, the day after, she received a letter telling her that she was not eligible for funding from the Ontario Student and Student Financial Assistance Scheme (OSAP).

Ms Da Ponte, who lives with her parents and grandmother in an apartment in western Toronto, says her family has a modest income.

Although she is trying to save money, Ms. Da Ponte says she cannot contribute much to her education.

My parents barely earn enough to live. […] Certainly not enough to go to university.

In 2019, the Ford government reformed the model OSAP. Since then, dependent students have been ineligible for grants from OSAP If their parents earn more than $140,000 a year. In addition, the expected parental contributions to loans have been increased. The definition of an independent student has also been modified.

Three years later, with rising cost inflation and a return to personal learning driving up housing and travel costs, many say these changes affect them more than ever.

Fears

Ms da Ponte says she will be able to afford the tuition for her first year but has no idea if she will be able to afford it for the next three years.

I really don’t know if I will be able to continue my studies as regularly as I thought [si j’avais pu toucher de l’aide du] OSAPMrs. Da Ponte said. She says she is considering applying for a line of credit.

Changes made to OSAP It also had repercussions for Vivien Miata, a third-year student from Ontario at McGill University in Montreal.

Vivian Miata is entering her third year at McGill University in Montreal.

Photo: Radio Canada/CBC

was eligible for OSAPBut a large part of her grants went to loans. Furthermore, she claims that the total grants and loans do not cover her tuition fees, let alone books and living expenses.

In 2021, those costs increased when I moved to Montreal when in-person classes returned.

I feel like I have to run to keep up […] By doubling jobs to counter rising costs said the 20-year-old.

I feel that OSAP It doesn’t really reflect the increase in cost of living over the past year. Of course, groceries have become very expensive, [en plus de] Everything related to rent. It is very difficult to find accommodation.

Another change to OSAP Relates to the length of time during which the student is considered does not depend on , which is now six years, compared to four years ago. Until such time as the student is considered does not depend on their parents’ income is taken into account when assessing their eligibility for financing as well as in estimating the amount they receive.

It’s another hitsaid Tuchar Sood, who will begin his studies at the University of Toronto School of Medicine in August.

Mr. Saud completed a three-year Bachelor of Science degree at McMaster University in Hamilton. I rely on OSAP For most of those years, however, because he had to declare his parents’ income, he was eligible for lower loans and grants.

Due to the new rules, it will not be considered does not depend on Prior to their final year of medical school, which means they will be eligible for lower funding for most of the program.

[Le gouvernement devrait] Focus more on the cost of graduation rather than the time since high schoolMr. Sood said.

Program improvement request

Student groups say the changes are affecting students more than ever as the costs of living and food rise as well as students return to personal learning.

Une des plus grandes difficultés dont j’entends parler de la part des étudiants est le fait de devoir payer certaines choses coûteuses comme les laissez-passer mensuels pour les transports en commun, par exemple, parce que maintenant, les étudiurs à peuvent assistants PersonallySarah Abdallah, national representative of the Canadian Student Union of Ontario, a group that campaigns for more accessible education, said.

Mrs. Abdullah, who is self-reliant on OSAPSome students, he says, rely heavily on food banks and are forced to make difficult decisions.

Photo by Sarah Abdullah.

Sarah Abdullah is part of the Undergraduate Student Alliance of Ontario.

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Abdullah

What sometimes happens is that you have to make a decision: Do I have enough money to eat today or do I have enough money to go home?

group calledUndergraduate Student Alliance of Ontario (OUSA) stresses that all of this has implications for students’ mental health and academic outcomes.

Students should continue to do well academically while paying tuition fees and dealing with a range of things while recovering from the pandemic. All of this certainly has implications for the mental health of students.Jessica Locke said,where.

The ministry says tuition fees have been reduced

In a written statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Colleges and Universities told CBC that it continues to work with the federal government to implement more programs and changes to assist post-secondary students.

To help ease difficulties in the reimbursement process, Ontario reduced tuition fees at publicly funded colleges and universities by 10% in 2019-2020, implemented a tuition freeze in 2020-2021 and in 2021-2022 and will freeze tuition again during the next academic year 2022- 2023The statement is as follows.

However, Laura Mae Lindo, a spokeswoman for The National Democratic Party of Ontario colleges and universities, she says she hopes to OSAP She will be part of the discussions once parliamentary proceedings resume in Queens Park.

There are a lot of questions about whether or not to cut the budget in August, […] We’ll actually see some kind of investment in this sectorLindo told CBC News.

With information from Farah Mirali from CBC

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