June 19th, 2020
The Honourable Ross Romano
Minister of Colleges and Universities
Ministry of Colleges and Universities
5th Floor, 438 University Ave
Toronto, ON M7A 1N3
Cc:Deputy Minister Laurie LeBlanc
Re: OSAP Estimator Concerns & OSAP Recommendations
Dear Minister Romano,
On behalf of 150,000 professional and undergraduate students in Ontario, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is writing to express concerns regarding the status of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for the 2020-21 school year.
As we enter the last week of June, students are making important decisions about their post-secondary education, including whether they can afford to return to school in the Fall. Unfortunately, because the OSAP assessment tool has not been finalized, students are unable to use the OSAP estimator to determine their funding eligibility. This prevents students from planning their finances effectively and making arrangements for the coming year.
Governments across Canada have announced changes aimed at helping students afford and predict the costs of post-secondary education for the 2020-21 school year. The federal government has increased Canada Student Grant amounts and eliminated the fixed student and spousal contribution. The Government of Newfoundland has increased loan amounts and eliminated student and spousal contributions as well. The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded their student loan program to offer additional loans, grants, and scholarships.
It has become increasingly important for the Ontario government to follow the lead of other governments and ensure that students have the financial support they need to attend university in the Fall. This includes enhancing OSAP and providing accurate information regarding loan and grant eligibility to students as soon as possible. This will help ensure that students are able to finish their degrees and enter Ontario’s workforce without delay.
We encourage the provincial government to continue to work with the federal government and engage in meaningful consultations with students to ensure that students receive the support they need.
OUSA would like to reiterate the following recommendations related to student financial aid, which we submitted to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee: MCU Advisory Council on May 11th:
1. The provincial government should extend the current moratorium on OSAP loan repayments and interest accrual for 2 years.
2. The provincial government should eliminate expected parental, spousal, and individual contributions in the OSAP calculation to ensure students have the financial supports to go back to school.
3. The provincial government should establish, in its tuition protocol, an international tuition set-aside at the same 10% rate of the domestic set-aside, with funds raised directed specifically to needs-based financial aid for international students.
4. The provincial government should increase non-refundable grants for students who need additional financial assistance to start or continue their post-secondary education in 2020-2021.
The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance