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Eliminating free tuition for families making under $50,000
Although seemingly making education more affordable (with a 10% Ontario-wide tuition reduction), it is now actually more expensive for most students. Students will no longer be able to go to post-secondary schools using grants in the fall of 2019. The new plan allows a maximum grant allocation of 50%, and the other 50% is given by loans.
"The majority of Ontario families will now be worse off and face increased student debt loads, while the richest will see savings."
– Sam Andrey, former manager of OSAP policy in the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
"Frankly, this is devastating. I'm going to have to drop down to part-time and work 24-32 hours per week during the school year to afford tuition and other expenses."
– 2nd Year Queen's Student
Reducing OSAP grants in general
The non-need based portion of the Ontario Student Grant (OSG) will be eliminated. In addition, the family income threshold associated with eligibility for the need-based OSG will be reduced. This supports the Ontario government’s effort to provide grants to those students who demonstrate the greatest financial need (as determined by the OSAP assessment)
Eliminating interest-free grace period
Before these changes, students had a 6-month grace period to pay back their loans once they graduated. This was intended to give students time to find a job before they started accruing interest on those loans. After the OSAP changes, interest begins immediately after graduation.
"I'll have to begin paying back the second I graduate, with no job, no chance to get on my feet."
– Queen's Student
Queen’s to lose more than $31,000,000 in revenue due to OSAP changes
That's right. Queen's will have to absorb the cost of both the tuition cuts and for their OSAP-dependant students. Dr. Tom Harris, of Queen's University, stated that the university is also looking at ways to mitigate the impact that a loss of tuition revenues will have. This means that Queen's is trying to pay for the students through grants and bursaries, but it is a cost that that won't be without great sacrifice to the quality of the university– if they are able to pay for everyone– but they aren't. They will only be able to accommodate the students most in-need with grants and bursaries unless a significant increase in funding is found.
Raising the age of an "independent student"
Although this seems unimportant at first– its not. Previously, students would be considered 'independent' 4-years after graduation from high school. Now, it is 6-years. Your parents’ income will still matter for OSAP calculations for 6-years instead of 4.
The only reason I am able to attend my current program is because I am a mature student (4-years out of high school). My parents don't have a lot of money and choose not to help finance my education. So, everything– textbooks, tuition, living expenses, my computer, clothes, etc., I (or my line of credit) pay for. I work as a TA for two courses during the semester, have (luckily) received a number of scholarships through Queens, and have taken on multiple jobs to be able to do that. This OSAP change has also raised the "independent student" distinction from 4-years to 6 years out of high school. Meaning other people in my position either need to get a financial emancipation or wait 6-years before being able to afford school. 6-years working minimum wage jobs because they can't afford to get the credentials which are pretty much required to get a living wage. Think of all that wasted potential. If that person was able to go to school (through OSAP) after high school and say they get a starting salary of $86,000, the Ontario government would receive $19,500 in tax revenue from this person within their first 2-years. Instead of receiving pretty much nothing from that same person working minimum wage, likely on social assistance. This doesn't even make financial sense. This ruling is a step backwards for Ontario and will disincentives people from lower-income backgrounds of being able to make a good life (and income) for themselves. This seems very short-sighted. Due to the aging population, we need high-skilled workers will large taxable incomes to support the current social insurance and health-care systems. Not providing the ability for lower-income students to better themselves will negatively impact the economy and society in the years to come as we deny upward mobility to
".potential tax-able workers
– 4th Year, Queen's Commerce
"I can no longer afford to do my masters after I graduate, I qualify for 0 grants now. Meanwhile I would have qualified for over $5000 in grant funding."
– 4th Year, Queen's Science
Eliminating Compulsory Fees
The Student Choice Initiative will give students the option of opting out of certain fees. Fees used to fund campus-wide services and facilities (e.g. health services, athletics and bus pass) will remain compulsory.
Changing the loan to grant ratio of funding for second-entry
Essentially, 0% of loans will ever be made up of more than 50% grants. A 50% grant ratio is the new limit.
Changes to Student Fixed Contribution
The expected fixed contribution from students in the Ontario need-assessment will be increased to reflect the minimum wage increase (see “Affordability of Postsecondary Education in Ontario”).
Here is an example of what a Queen's Arts student is eligible for if both parents make $20,000 a year (previously would be 100% covered by grants)
You can calculate how much you are eligible for in OSAP (2019) here.
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