Updated: OSAP changes take effect, impacting Laurier students

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On Wednesday, June 19, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) released funding estimates for student applicants looking to receive grants and loans for the next school year. Changes were made to the program earlier in the year by the Ford government with uncertainty surrounding how students would be impacted by the projected cuts to the province’s financial aid.

Following the estimates given to students by OSAP, concerns have been raised across social media, with a flurry of tweets submitted by concerned students to the popular Wilfrid Laurier community Twitter account, Spotted at Laurier:

According to some of the responses that were posted, there are students who will be facing up to $8,000 in financial losses that would have otherwise been put towards their education for the year.

The Laurier Students’ Union posted a response to the OSAP changes on their social media pages, outlining the difficulty and pressure this will place on a large portion of students who will have to make sacrifices in order to pay for their education that may not be covered by a program that previously allowed them to focus solely on their studies and take full course loads.

The response pushes for the advocacy of “more accessible post-secondary education” through their partnership with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).

Laurier students are encouraged to fill out their survey, or email Shawn Cruz, vice-president of student affairs for the Students’ Union, and outline how the changes in OSAP funding have affected their budgeting for the upcoming academic year.

Cruz and Zemar Hakim, president of the Students’ Union, further addressed student concerns in a joint email statement:

“The Students’ Union is closely monitoring feedback from Laurier students about how changes to OSAP will impact their finances. While the government announced its changes to OSAP in January, we are just now seeing how students will be personally affected. Affordable education is one of our key organizational priorities. As such, we are deeply concerned about the consequences of these changes for students’ access to education.

Our provincial advocacy efforts include an ongoing partnership with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), and an emphasis on improvements to eligibility and the assessment of financial aid. This includes prioritizing grants over loans, more compressive support for low-income students, and greater funding predictability. The full list of recommendations can be found in OUSA’s March 2019 Student Financial Aid paper.

Students are encouraged to continue sharing with the Students’ Union how the changes to OSAP have affected their budget for the upcoming year. This information is key to support our provincial advocacy.”

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