Following cuts, OSAP estimates plunge

Facing torrent of online backlash, Fullerton defends cuts

On Jan. 22, Queen's students gathered at University Avenue and Union Street to protest the provincial government recent educational reform to OSAP and tuition rates.
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Journal File Photo

When students logged into their OSAP accounts on Wednesday, their 2019-20 assistance estimates, released yesterday, showed funding decreases of up to 50 per cent from previous years.

OSAP rose to the number one trending topic in Canada on Twitter Wednesday night as students expressed frustration online—prompting a swift response in a series of tweets from Merrilee Fullerton, the former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Fullerton, who was shuffled from her post in Thursday’s cabinet shake-up, is now Minister of Long-Term Care. Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, will get his first cabinet post as the new Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

“Our government is taking the responsible approach of ensuring the sustainability of OSAP while cutting tuition fees by a historic 10 per cent and ensuring OSAP is available to those who need it most for generations to come,” Fullerton wrote in a tweet Wednesday.

The AMS Executive released a statement last night expressing the Society’s disappointment with the Ford government’s funding cuts.

“As the representative body for Queen’s University undergraduate students, we would like to once again express our disappointment with these provincial government cuts,” the statement read. “Not only will this limit accessibility to post-secondary education, it will also add additional stresses and hardships to everyday student life.”

The statement also promised the Society would reach out to the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance in the coming days to gather more information and launch a survey to understand how the cuts will impact Queen’s students.

The statement ended with the note, “no surrender.”

Citing sustainability measures, the Ford government announced it would cut $670 million from the program in January, leaving student governments in the dark about what the upcoming school year would look like.

Minister Fullerton did not respond to questions about how universities would maintain the same level of academic and support services for students following the cuts in an interview with The Journal last January.

The 10 per cent tuition decrease is estimated to cost Queen’s $31.4 million in revenue.

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