OUSA writes letter calling on Ontario government to cease OSAP cuts

‘We will continue to use our voice for the betterment of all students attending post-secondary education’ 

Ontario government cut back $400 million in funding for OSAP in the 2020-21 academic year.
On May 5, the Ontario University Student Alliance (OUSA) wrote a letter to Ross Romano, then the minister of colleges and universities. OUSA called on the province to stop “clawbacks” to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
The “clawbacks” referred to the provincial government’s $400 million reduction in OSAP expenditures for the 2020-21 year, publicized in April 2021. 
In April, the federal government announced the Canada Student Grant (CSG) would be doubled to assist post-secondary students impacted by COVID-19 nationwide.
OUSA’s letter recommended that the Ontario government stop any disbursement as federal investments in student assistance programs increase and invest any savings garnered by the Canada Student Grants funding back into the OSAP program to “provide more direct support for students that need it the most.”
The letter stressed the importance of OSAP funding to Ontario post-secondary students who require financial assistance in completing their studies, indicating concern that students accessing funding through OSAP will not feel the positive impact of the federal policy change. 
“We are concerned that the federal government’s investments in OSAP have been used as a cost-saving opportunity for the provincial government,” the letter said. 
The letter also cites the importance of an increase in funding available to students in relation to the pandemic.
“[I]n the context of mass job loss and income disruptions during a global pandemic, provincial OSAP spending has decreased. Given that OSAP calculations factor in student and parental contributions, the financial impact of COVID-19 suggests that provincial spending should have increased.”
“Students are concerned that the provincial government will continue to claw back provincial funding to OSAP and use the federal government’s additional CSG funding as a cost-savings mechanism for the next two years.” 
As of July 21, there has still been no response from Jill Dunlop, the recently-appointed minister of colleges and universities, according to Jacob Marinelli, commissioner of external affairs of the AMS and OUSA Steering Committee member. 
The OUSA Steering Committee is hopeful that Dunlop will be more responsive to the advocacy campaigns for student assistance programs than her predecessor, Romano. 
“With the ongoing focus on COVID-19, especially regarding return to campus and vaccination plans, we hope the clawbacks will not continue to be overshadowed and that our advocacy campaign will push the new minister to respond,” Marinelli wrote in a statement to The Journal.
“We will continue to use our voice for the betterment of all students attending post-secondary education.”

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