doug ford osap

Ontario students frustrated by OSAP application's late launch

Sweeping changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program are putting many young people across the province in a rather precarious position right now: Either decline enrollment to your school of choice or accept without knowing if you can pay tuition.

With just weeks to go before the May 1 cutoff for accepting admission offers to Ontario colleges, thousands of hopefuls are facing a choice that students didn't have to make last year.

A "one-year glitch," as it is described by one expert, has made it so that students have no idea whether or not they've qualified for OSAP loans, or how much they can expect to receive at this time.

In fact, they can't even apply for OSAP yet because, as CBC News reports, "Ontario's universities and colleges still haven't received the complicated government formula used to calculate how much financial aid each student gets. "

Changes to the Ontario's financial aid program for students were announced in January and included lowering tuition rates by 10 per cent at all publicly-funded colleges and universities.

More controversially, they also saw the discontinuation of full tuition grants for students from low-income families and the abandonment of a six-month grace period.

Students have been rallying against Doug Ford by the thousands (and vice versa) ever since.

Alex Usher, president of the analysis and consulting firm Higher Education Strategy Associates, told CBC that this year's late OSAP application launch is due to the government making rule changes without releasing a new formula to match.

"You need a formula," he said. "They were very reticent about releasing details, which may mean they don't know the details." 

"Unless that formula is enshrined in code, no-one can process your application," he continued. "Because changes were made late in the process, that code still has not been released to institutions and I understand it isn't being released for another week or so." 

As it stands now, the government maintains that applications for the 2019-2020 schoolyear will be available to students sometime this spring.

Lead photo by

Adrian Wagenaar


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