May 13, 2022
OUSA releases policy paper titled “Student Financial Aid”
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the final policy paper approved by OUSA’s Spring 2022 General Assembly, Student Financial Aid. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the intention of expressing their concerns and offering recommendations on the student financial aid system in Ontario, namely via the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
“The aftermath of cuts and changes to OSAP has significantly impacted student affordability of post-secondary education and is a very worrisome issue for students right now," said Nathan R.G. Barnett, outgoing Vice President of University Affairs at the Trent Durham Student Association and OUSA Steering Committee member. "Students have been and will be key contributors in pandemic recovery efforts, so it is an opportune and critical time to improve financial aid programs that support their retention and completion of post-secondary.”
Affordability of post-secondary education has become increasingly difficult between pandemic-related impacts, rising tuition, and the increased cost of living; while financial aid is meant to alleviate some of these concerns, there are several gaps in the current system. In particular, students are worried about how OSAP funding is calculated and distributed, restrictive eligibility criteria, and minimal predictability and transparency from the system. They are also concerned about the system’s limited data collection processes, the lack of information on financial aid for prospective students, inadequate appeals mechanisms, and punitive probation practices.
To address these concerns, students have provided recommendations that would prioritize reconfiguring the OSAP distribution structure, expand funding eligibility for diverse student groups, and increase predictability and transparency. In addition, they suggest ideas to enhance data collection and application processes, make information for prospective students easier to access, raise awareness on OSAP appeals, and eliminate OSAP academic probation.
“Student financial aid continues to be an issue that affects the day to day of many students across Ontario,” said Eunice Oladejo, outgoing OUSA President and Vice President External Affairs at the University Students’ Council at Western. “Through this paper, OUSA hopes to continue in our advocacy for adequate aid that makes post-secondary education accessible and affordable .”
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on March 13, 2022 at OUSA’s Spring General Assembly, held virtually.
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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 Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance