Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance releases policy paper: “Mature Students”

March 26, 2018

Toronto, ON -  A policy paper released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this morning, focuses on enhancing the lives of mature students in Ontario. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of providing recommendations for: standardizing definitions, data collection, financial barriers, student success and accessible childcare.

This paper includes many achievable steps towards improving the lives of mature students at Ontario Universities. Current concerns include: the variance in the term “mature student” across institutions; the limit of public data available on mature students; financial barriers that mature students face; support services available to mature students; and the availability of accessible childcare.

“Mature Students are a growing segment of Ontario’s student population and represent a vibrant and diverse group that brings important perspectives to university campuses,” said David Seston, student at Western University. “It is important to note, however, that there is very little information on the barriers and challenges this group faces for Ontario universities to work from and create planning initiatives from. I feel that it is incredibly important that this paper calls for the government and the Council of Ontario Universities to work at creating these data sets to help inform and guide policy.”

Overarching recommendations in the paper include: the adoption of OSAP’s definition of ‘independent students,” inclusive of married students with dependents, as a standardized definition for mature students at Ontario’s universities; a partnership between the provincial government and the Council of Ontario Universities to collect data; additional OSAP funding to meet the needs of mature students; and the publication of on-campus childcare centre waitlists on university websites.

“Mature students face unique barriers, including lack of financial support and support services that are tailored to their needs, which can have an impact on their academic achievement,” said Zana Talijan, student at Wilfrid Laurier University. “Being a mature student has enabled me to experience first hand the unique difficulties faced by this growing student demographic. This paper will attempt to highlight the issues mature students are facing across the Ontario universities, and bring forward recommendations on this matter.”

This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Spring General Assembly on March 11th for approval. To read the paper, please click here.

OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations a cross Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario. To achieve this vision we’ve come together to develop solutions to challenges facing higher education, build broad consensus for our policy options, and lobby government to implement them.

Deborah Lam                                                         
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]