New changes to Ontario’s financial aid system may finally address the growing concern of student debt as tuition costs rise.
According to research by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, 66 percent of our province’s students struggle to pay for their studies and must seek outside help.
Students who come from low to even medium income families face a lot of pressure to come up with the money. They’re often forced to take on a part time job, which can be detrimental to grades or apply for financial assistance—which is known to be a complicated process that deters a lot of students from applying. That leaves loans from private lenders and banks—which can rack up even more debt with high interest rates.
Fanshawe Student Union President Carlie Forsythe identifies that financing education is a problem for the vast majority of students, especially with the rise of tuition costs.
“We’re seeing a lot of problems with students actually accessing post secondary education because now the institutions are charging so much more per student per year– because the government pulled out a lot of funding. Unfortunately it’s an organization and it has to run,” Forsythe explains.
Ontario Education Minister Deb Matthews says when you actually look at the numbers of who is going on to post secondary by income of their family it’s quite alarming. She was shocked that students who come from low-income families are four times less likely to receive a post secondary education.
As part of the government’s plan to improve these numbers and encourage more students to go on to post-secondary, the minister says OSAP will be remodeled this September with some big improvements, including the free tuition under 50,000 grant.
Matthews hopes the new grants will help eliminate financial barriers that prevent students from accessing post-secondary education.