Katlyn Bonner wasn’t planning on going to college due to her financial circumstances, but after learning more about the new rules behind OSAP, she reconsidered.
“Once the government started helping out low-income families I was like ‘oh it’s actually possible for me to go to college and make money and make the best out of myself,” said Bonner, 18, a first-year child and youth care student.
Bonner had received $9,000 in grants and $4,000 in loans and believes that OSAP does a good job in assisting situations and calculating how much a student should be getting. Because of the money that was given to her through OSAP, it covered all of her tuition and now she only has to work 14 hours a week, whereas her boyfriend works 40 to support himself.
Aside from the free tuition, Bonner was able to pay for the books required for her classes. It also covered three months of her rent and helped decrease her worry upon starting college.
“I am pretty grateful that I am coming out of college not loan free, but really low with loans,” Bonner said.
Bonner is an example of how the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) makes it easier for students to pay for college based on the income of the student’s parents. It offers funds given to the student without them having it pay it off, and loans, which the student must pay off after graduation.
That doesn’t happen in every case, however. if a student’s parents make more money the following year it will change how much money the student receives in grants and loans. As well, if a student’s parents make too much money the following year they will not receive the money they need.
“I think it’s kind of unfortunate that students whose parents make above the line don’t receive any money from OSAP,” Bonner said. “I think that’s really unfortunate and I think there should be something in the system for those students because that could also be holding students back from going for their education.”
OSAP all depends on the student’s parent’s situation as some parents are just below the line where others are making less than $2,000. Those who make more money will be given less while those who make less will be given more.
“I don’t think they take into account that you have to pay rent, you have to eat, you have to do all that and live at the same time,” said Bonner, “and if you’re in a highly competitive program it is nearly impossible to work so much that you can sustain yourself.“
And the assistance doesn’t enable students to fully commit to studies without working. Despite OSAP covering some student’s tuition and decreasing the amount of part-time/full-time work – or even working at all — some still choose to work to keep up with today’s busy and expensive world.
“It was my own choice,” said Patrick Gauthier, a first-year electrical engineering technician student. “I want to graduate without debt.”
Gauthier has used the grants he received through OSAP to cover his tuition and school supplies but has not used his loans because he doesn’t want to get into debt.
“It covered most if not all of it,” Gauthier explained.
Gauthier has used his own savings as well as the money he earns in the IT department to pay for his rent, hydro and food.
Chris Amaddeo, a second-year tourism travel services student said through Facebook that the grants he received through OSAP covered his tuition costs for most of his first year and all of his second.
However, he still has to work full-time as he didn’t have enough money to cover living expenses.
“The loans I pay back are affordable and I will be able to be paid back within a year,” said Amaddeo through Facebook. ” If it wasn’t for OSAP I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to school.”