By the end of February this year, Queen’s had received more bursary applications from incoming students than it had in the entire admissions cycle the year before. A month earlier, the province announced it would cut $670 million from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
In an email dated March 1 and obtained by The Journal through a freedom of information request, Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs, wrote the Student Awards office had informed her of the increase.
In the same email, Tierney wrote she had reviewed the University’s bursary program and what the school was doing to “look at our bursary funds for the ‘most in need’ students.”
She added that two weeks prior, the University sent postcards to all applicants to Queen’s detailing the admissions bursary program and how they could apply as incoming students.
In a written statement to The Journal, the University said the postcards were intended to “raise awareness among prospective students and their family members about the Queen’s financial aid available.”
In addition to the postcards, Queen’s said it also emailed information about the bursary program to incoming students.
According to the statement, the Student Awards office received 835 more bursary applications than it had in the 2018-19 year.
Queen’s received 3,436 bursary applications for 2019-20 academic year, an increase from 2,601 for the 2018-19 year, and granted 2,252 bursaries, the statement said. This was an increase of 573 granted bursaries from the previous year.
According to the province, OSAP grants will focus primarily on students whose family income falls below $50,000. Ford’s changes in ratio of grants to loans also means students from low-income and middle-income families will receive fewer grants.
When OSAP estimates for the upcoming year started rolling in last month, students saw funding decreases in up to fifty per cent.
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