May 26, 2021
OUSA Calls on the Province to Stop Clawing Back OSAP
TORONTO - On May 5, 2021, The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) sent a letter to the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, asking the province to stop the $400 million clawback from the provincial portion of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and to re-invest the $400 milion back into OSAP. As of Wednesday, May 26, OUSA has not received a response from Minister Romano or the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
“Students across the province rely on the OSAP to help fund their post-secondary education and increase affordability,” said Eunice Oladejo, OUSA President and incoming Vice-President External Affairs at the University Students’ Council at Western University. “Due to the global pandemic, students are facing income disruptions and high unemployment rates, further exacerbating issues of affordability.”
In the spirit of helping students during the pandemic, the federal government doubled its contributions to OSAP through the Canada Student Grant (CSG) in 2020 and has committed to maintaining this investment amount for the next two years. Despite the significant increase in funding for student financial aid, students in Ontario have not felt the effects of this contribution. This is because the province is using the increased federal funding to subsidize its own contributions to OSAP by clawing back the provincial portion of OSAP. In the recently announced fiscal plan and outlook (page 154), the provincial government reduced its OSAP expenditure from $1.29 billion in 2019-20 to $895 million in 2020-21, amounting to a $400 million reduction.
Rather than providing Ontario students with the financial support they require and have been asking for throughout the pandemic, the provincial government is using the federal government’s additional investments as a cost-saving mechanism. Therefore, not only is the provincial government not listening to students, they are also interfering with federal interventions to meet students’ needs.
OUSA has asked the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to:
- Stop OSAP clawbacks as a result of increased federal funding through Canada Student Grants; and
- Invest any savings generated by the doubling of Canada Student Grants back into OSAP to provide more direct support for students who need it most.
If no action is taken, OUSA is concerned that students will not feel the impact of the doubling of the CSG – investments intended to address student needs – and that students will continue to struggle. If no action is taken, the province will continue to absorb the federal government’s investments and reduce their OSAP spending, leaving students without the necessary financial support that they have been asking for.
- When the provincial government reduced domestic tuition by 10% in 2019, they also cut OSAP spending by $700M
~24,000 fewer students received OSAP awards in 2019-2020 than in 2018-2019 as a result of the cuts to OSAP announced in 2019
- 2018-2019: 256,311 recipients vs 2019-2020: 232,058 recipients
- Another $400M reduction in OSAP expenditure from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021 can be attributed to the OSAP clawback
About: 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.
Communications and Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
416-341-9948 |[email protected]