QUEEN’S PARK — Chris Glover, Ontario NDP critic for Colleges and Universities, said it’s simply wrong for Doug Ford to plow ahead with cuts to OSAP — especially now, as students share their stories of the devastating consequences. Some of the many students who have learned just how much financial assistance Ford is ripping away from them joined Glover at Queen’s Park on Monday.
When Daniel Mutton found out his OSAP had been reassessed, his first thought was that he would have to drop out. He had already used $6,000 of the $13,500 he was promised for his final term at Niagara College, where he is training to become a mechanic.
Now, because his mom’s pension is just $2,000 higher than originally calculated, he is losing roughly $5,500. Now his parents are considering using their line of credit to help Mutton complete the term.
Jacob Falardeau, a York University student, is seeing his OSAP slashed in half, which leaves him around $12,000 short of covering his tuition and living expenses. Now, even if Falardeau works full time while in school, he faces the uncertainty of whether he’ll be able to make ends meet.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see the impact Doug Ford’s cuts to OSAP are having on students,” said Glover. “Students shouldn’t be forced to give up their dreams of going to college or university because cost is a barrier. Students shouldn’t be forced to drop out of college or university part-way through their studies because they can’t afford to continue. And students shouldn’t have to juggle jobs and their studies, only to graduate with crushing amounts of debt and all the anxiety that comes with it.”
Deep cuts to non-repayable grants account for the bulk of the more than $700 million in funding slashed from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in Doug Ford’s first budget.
“Doug Ford is dragging Ontario backwards with his callous cuts to OSAP. Instead of investing in young people, he is ripping away financial assistance, ensuring that only the wealthiest Ontarians are guaranteed the bright future promised by post-secondary education.”
Finances were already tight for Kaitlyn Jonescu’s family after her mom lost her job because of Doug Ford’s health-care cuts. Jonescu, who is in her second year of studies at Brock University, was shocked to learn last week that she would be receiving less than $500 in loans. Earlier estimates suggested she would be receiving $3,000 in OSAP.
“Young people deserve so much better than for Ford to pull the rug out from under them with claw backs to student financial assistance,” said Glover. “We should be converting student loans to grants, not making deep cuts to the supports that will help young people build a good life in Ontario.
“That’s why I am calling on Doug Ford to immediately reverse his cuts to OSAP and properly fund post-secondary education.”