Government Funding: Dropping Like it’s Hot
A look at cuts to OSAP
Recent cuts to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) have resulted in a lot of trouble for many students all over the province. The election of Premier Doug Ford has resulted in a change from mostly grants with a six month grace period for repayment, to a majority loan-based system where interest will build on the loans the moment you graduate. This has been a troubling year for many students when it comes to funding, and even campuses are losing services due to government cuts and changes. The Argus spoke to students at the Orillia campus to find out how they have been impacted.
Cassandra, a second-year Anthropology/Concurrent Education student, gave surprising insight to the drop in OSAP; her funds depending on which parent she listed on her application: “Last year, I put my OSAP under my mom's income, who worked full time with a decent job; this year I filed my OSAP under my dad’s income who is unable to work because of sickness, so he collects disability. I got less than I did the year before with an OSAP filed under a parent who can’t even work. I’m not unhappy because my parents help if I need it, but if it continues to go down, then I won’t be able to afford to go to school without huge debt.”
Caitlin Corry, a 2nd year interdisciplinary student, is on the opposite side of the OSAP battle, saying “I didn't lose very much, and I made less based on this year's tax return, so that made up for it. I have dependents though, so I get a lot of free money,” going on to add, “I honestly can't complain, I don't have to work even part-time because of the bursaries associated with dependents. We just live carefully and make it last.”
Another student, who prefers to remain anonymous said of their funding: “I fought with OSAP the entire summer to gain funding and they finally granted it. The catch was though, my grants would be turned to loans and I couldn’t just take the grants - 14,000 dollars in debt this year alone.”
When Connor McCleod was asked about the changes to OSAP, his answer was simple: “Honestly it was less than last year and I needed more money this semester.” This answer echoes the feelings of many students coming into this year.
The OSAP cuts do not just affect students already enrolled in a program, they affect everyone.
Higher education has become almost a requirement in our society, yet for many, it might become unattainable in the near future. Cuts are expected to keep coming, and campus services are suffering due to the Student Choice Initiative. Even with the drop in tuition, it is hard to pay fully out of pocket. Lakehead Orillia and Thunder Bay, along with almost every single student on every campus across Ontario, will be going further into debt for an education they are expected to have.