Could the Government be Making the Students’ Struggle Less Real?
In April 2017, a number of student-specific initiatives were introduced in the 2017 Ontario Budget. These initiatives are intended to alleviate the stress that students face especially when transitioning into the workforce.
OSAP Repayment Made Easier
Currently, you don’t have to begin repaying your student loan unless you start earning $35,000 each year. Previously, you were supposed to begin repaying your loan if you’re earning $25, 000 annually. This new change will be implemented in September 2017 and will benefit mostly the students who will be graduating this spring and fall.
What About The ‘Free Tuition’?
In 2016, the Ontario government declared a grant that will cater for the tuition expenses for low-income students. The new OSAP system is expected to start this fall. One thing everyone should understand is that the term ‘free tuition’ is totally misleading. The announcement shouldn’t be perceived as though the government will just be pumping grants out in a T-shirt canon for every student.
Though there are still question marks regarding the grant, here are some of the facts about the new OSAP system that you should know.
- The existing provincial grants (which have one upfront grant known as the Ontario Student Grant) will be replaced by the new OSAP system to help learners finance their education.
- Under the Ontario Student Grant, learners whose annual family income is below $50,000, will have the government covering their average tuition cost. Note that this also covers mature students. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the average tuition fee for Ontario university students will be $6,540 and for college, the average fees is $2,940.
- Learners from families that have a higher income, will also have access to non-repayable grants of different amounts.
According to estimates by the province, over 210,000 post-secondary students will have their fees covered by the new OSAP system by 2018. In fact, the provincial administration responsible for these grants argues that there is no student who is likely to get less amount of loan than they are receiving currently.
There Is Also Help In Getting Jobs
The good news to university students in Ontario is that the province is launching its $190 million career start strategy to help university students to transition safely and easily to work from the monotonous university education environment.
Some of the interesting highlights about this program include:
- The students will have free access to LinkedIn Lynda.com courses via the eCampusOntario website. Note that Lynda.com is a hub offering more than 5,000 online courses in technology, business and arts. These courses are delivered by industry experts and professionals.
- $68-million for potential employers to set up workplace learning opportunities via the popular Career Ready Fund.
- Another 100 placements annually for fresh graduates in the Ontario Internship Program
Unpaid Prescription Drugs
As a strategy to make sure that all the students access the health care they need, the province intends to introduce free prescription drug initiative for everyone under 24 years. This new plan is currently known as the ‘Phamacare Jr.’ and will cover all expenses associated with medical prescriptions regardless of your family income or whether you have private insurance or not.