March 27, 2019
TORONTO, ON - This morning, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) released a policy paper that focuses on the affordability of post-secondary education in Ontario and how students in the province receive financial assistance. The paper was written, approved, and published by students, and it recommends restoring OSAP’s targeted free tuition model, increasing data collection through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, and improving student experiences through more financial assistance.
"We have heard students' concerns regarding the recent changes to OSAP across our eight institutions," said Stephanie Bertolo, Steering Committee member and student author at McMaster University. "Our updated Student Financial Aid policy paper shares OUSA's recommendations on how to make university more affordable for students who need it most.”
Students are concerned about the inconsistency of OSAP eligibility, unreasonable expected contributions, confusing user experiences through the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC), insufficient data collection, lack of financial literacy, and the increase in student debt.
"This paper takes a comprehensive look at the financial aid system," says Matthew Gerrits, Steering Committee member and student author from the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo. "The paper provides evidence-driven recommendations which will bolster the student financial aid system for all students in need, including recommendations that improve the system for international students, professional students, and part-time students."
Overarching recommendations include improving consistency in OSAP eligibility, making expected contributions reasonable, clarifying the user experience, increasing data collection, and improving the effectiveness of grants and loans. In addition, OSAP should restore the six-month loan repayment grace period and assess part-time student financial aid based on their number of courses. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities should improve user experience by redesigning and centralizing all financial aid information offered through the NSLSC, OSAP, and the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) websites.
This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Spring General Assembly on March 3rd for approval. To read the paper, please click here.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance