OSAP changes are coming – for better or worse

The Ontario government announced several changes to OSAP and tuition cost for post-secondary students attending college or university on Thursday.

Among them is the fact that tuition costs will be slashed by 10 per cent, making it the first time Ontario student tuition rates have decreased across all funding eligible programs. Going forward all institution will be required to provide an opt-out button for all non-essential tuition fees.

Cheryl Jensen, president of Algonquin College sent out an e-mail to students addressing how the tuition changes will affect the college. In it she addressed how the tuition cuts will result in the college experiencing a $9-million shortfall.

One of the major issues that will directly affect a vast majority of students is the qualification of years one needs to be out of high school to qualify as an independent. The Conservative government is now upping the age from the current four years to six years with parental income factored into the OSAP amount. This would indicate if the average person graduates high school at 18 they would be 24 before they qualify.

According to the auditor general, “we noted that the number of students who had been out of high school for at least four years and who received OSAP increased 33 per cent from the 2016/2017 to 2017/2018 academic years, and that close to 30 per cent of them said on their application that they were living with their parents. The ministry did not know whether the students actually needed OSAP support.”

The Liberal government had implemented a free tuition program geared to low-income families that saw students receiving grants to cover tuition costs instead of loans. That is now changing and students will be forced to absorb the cost of tuition fees.

The provincial government has also taken away the six-month grace period, where students had six months to get on their feet and find a job before interest would start accumulating on their loans. Students will now have no grace period and interest will start accumulating the minute they graduate post-secondary.

For JD Van Allen, a mature student, the decision to go back to school is not as easy as he once pictured. “I was going to apply for the coming year but now I’m waiting to see what else happens with OSAP,” he said. “It could make the difference between me going back to school or not.”

As it stands right now Algonquin College average tuition is $2,900, Carleton University domestic tuition is $9,200 and the University of Ottawa has an average local tuition of $6,200. With the ten per cent cut this brings the averages to $2,610 for Algonquin, $8,280 and $5,580 for uOttawa.

For more information on the changes check out



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