Deputy Premier, chair of the cabinet, the minister responsible for Digital Government, and the minister of advanced education and skills development Deb Matthews, stated to The Medium that there are upcoming changes to OSAP.
Matthews referred to the changes as being more “accessible” to students, while making OSAP “more progressive, more generous and simpler.”
According to Ontario website, changes in received amounts were made upon comparing the students’ tuition fees and their living expenses with the amount that they and their families are expecting to pay. Beginning in the 2017 academic year, students can receive up to $13,260 if they are full-time single students. Students who are married or sole-support parents can receive up to $22,440.
“It means that students with a family income of $160,000 or less will get some support from OSAP,” said Matthews. “It’s progressive so that when you hit the $50,000 mark, you’ll actually get grants that are higher than your tuition. So it’ll be free tuition for students from families with an income of $50,000 or less.”
Matthews stated that upcoming changes will also make OSAP accessible, by making the grants more “upfront.” Students will be able to know before starting their OSAP application what their financial aid is going to be, how much in grants they will be receiving, and how much in loans they will have to repay.
Matthews also explained that the government is planning on brining a “digital government,” in which students can access OSAP on their smartphones and tablets.
“The upcoming OSAP changes are intended to increase post-secondary participation rates for students from lower income families,” she said.
Students from lower-income families, according to Matthews, are one-quarter less likely to continue to post-secondary institutions, unlike students from higher-income families.
”We’re really hoping that by taking these financial barriers down, students are going to be able to go on to college or university based on their potential—not on the size of their pocketbook,” said Matthews.
Matthews and her team are currently developing a strategy to ensure that every student who graduates from high school, and from college or university, has at least “one meaningful experiential learning opportunity.”
As announced by the website of the Government of Canada, beginning November 1, students will no longer have to repay their loans until they start earning at least $25,000. It also stated that as of August, Canada Student Grant amounts have increased by 50 percent.
The OSAP changes are expected to become effective in September 2017.