QUEEN’S PARK — Students who need grants and loans to help pay for post-secondary education are going to get less help and pay more interest, following changes by the Doug Ford government.
“The Ford government is going after low-income and middle-income students by cutting grants, making loan support harder to get, and cranking up the amount of interest they’ll pay,” said NDP Colleges and Universities critic Chris Glover. “This is going to mean more debt, holding back young people already desperate for relief from debt.”
The Ford government announced Thursday that free tuition for low-income students is being eliminated, and the six-month grace period on student loan interest is cancelled. Students will rack up more debt while they’re in school, and interest on that debt will start accumulating the minute a student leaves school.
Plus, the Ford government’s supposed tuition price help is deceitful, said Glover. The Ford government is not replacing that missing money, which means a $360 million cut to universities and $80 million from colleges. Students will likely pay for this with larger class sizes and tuition will likely skyrocket in 2021 to make up the difference.
Glover said the NDP’s proposals for loan and interest relief would be a powerful way to ease the debt burden on students and new graduates.
“For the government to profit on the backs of students by charging interest on student loans is wrong, and it has to stop,” said Glover. “The government should not be cutting grants, it should be converting loans to grants and eliminating all interest. That’s what the NDP wants to see.
“In Ontario today, student debt levels are so crushing that people are putting off moving out of their parents’ home, and even putting off starting a family. Adding more interest and taking away grant money is going to make things even worse for people.”
Glover also noted that the Ford government is also setting the stage for service cuts by letting students opt-out of some student union dues.