The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is putting students on hold and telling them "they do not speak to students." Students are now being forced to put their education on hold.
It is the second week of the Fall 2022 semester in Ontario and while many postsecondary students across the province are getting settled into their new school routines, others are experiencing stress. Due to delays with the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), they are worried about how they will pay for their education and are already considering dropping out.
OSAP is run by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and provides loans and grants to students in financial need. It is designed to help students with the cost of tuition, books, auxiliary fees, living expenses (for full time students), and childcare (for full-time and part-time students with children). Our organization estimates that approximately 60-70% of domestic students in Ontario rely on OSAP. Unfortunately, data and details regarding OSAP are opaque.
The lack of transparency surrounding the OSAP process is causing frustrations for students who feel helpless as they anxiously wait for their funding.
One student that contacted CSA, voiced his frustration.
“After numerous calls to the Ministry, they told me they do not speak to students and that my financial aid office has OSAP officers that will contact them about this.”
This student is not alone. Social media is littered with students voicing their difficulties of getting through to the Ministry - their sitting on busy lines with no answer. This frustration is further compounded by financial aid offices denying any delays from their end. For example, when the same student finally got in contact with their financial office, they responded with an email which claimed that the Ministry was the one who was behind on reviewing his application.
As per a response to the CBC, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, denies that any significant delays and encourages students to reach out to their school’s financial offices.
And round and round it goes.
The delays have become a blame game without any recourse.
Whether or not it is the Ministry or financial aid offices is beyond the point. The more important issue is that some students are not getting their funding on-time. Without receiving their OSAP funding, students may not be able to afford tuition, which can result in them being removed from classes and charged additional late fees. These students deserve a more transparent process. We understand that technical and human errors can happen along the process, but there should be a better way for students to get solutions to their application issues.
Institutions should offer and clearly advertise a way to defer their tuition payment, without penalty, until students receive funding. The Ministry should also bolster its OSAP related customer service and collaborate with institutions’ financial offices to provide these anxious students with direct answers.
While Minister Dunlop denies any “significant” delays existing, we believe any student being denied a semester of school due to delays is significant.
Have you or anyone you know faced any challenges with your OSAP funding? If so, leave a comment or email us directly at email@example.com