OSAP can leave gap for students to fill

Summar Bourada’s dreams of becoming a student at Queen’s wouldn’t have come true if it weren’t for OSAP.

Bourada, ArtSci ’15 is among 40 per cent of Queen’s students receiving financial assistance, and paying for her education hasn’t been an easy task.

OSAP, the Ontario Student Assistance Program, is a government funded student financial assistance program used to supplement costs based on the financial need of the student, often determined in part by parental income.

The amount that students receive can fluctuate depending on need and how much students are able to contribute to their education from other sources like savings.

For Bourada, OSAP only covers between 10 to 40 per cent of her education costs. She’ll have to work during the school year to cover her other costs.

“I think it’s really stressful to be honest. It’s kind of a burden just because I need the money,” Bourada said.

According to the Student Awards Office, there is an expectation that parents will contribute to their child’s education if they can.

Bourada thinks the government needs to be considerate of a variety of situations that could arise among students struggling to fund their education.

“If it is a situation like mine or a situation where the parent is not really in the picture and they’re not willing to contribute, whether they have money or not, then I definitely think OSAP should be available to them,” she said.

—Rachel Herscovici

This article has been updated to reflect the following correction: OSAP is often determined in part by a student's parental income and there is no threshold of parental income in place for students to qualify for OSAP.

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