Province Moves to ‘Ease’ Financial Burden for Postsecondary Students During COVID-19

Ontario Enabling Students to Complete the Academic Year, Offering Loan Payment Deferrals and Financial Support for Institutions

A News Release from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Posted March 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students and making sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to post-secondary institutions.

“During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments,” said Premier Ford. “Our government is doing everything it can to ensure our college and university students can take their exams and complete their school year while studying remotely.”   

To support borrowers during this difficult period, loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30, 2020. This means that during this time, borrowers will not be required to make any loan payments and interest will not accrue on their OSAP loans. Borrowers can still make one-time payments via their online account or online banking if they want to repay their loans faster. Payments during this period will go entirely towards their loan principal.   

“Students and their families make great sacrifices to attend post-secondary education and it is incumbent on us to do everything we can to ensure this academic year is not put in jeopardy,” said Minister Romano. “I want to thank our post-secondary institutions for their leadership in adopting alternative ways for students to study and take exams, while ensuring they practice physical distancing and stay safe.”

To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to post-secondary institutions. These interim digital learning supports, available in both French and English, will provide publicly-assisted colleges and universities with the technology they need to conduct year-end assessments, while preserving student privacy and the integrity of academic assessment.

Ontario will work with other partners who may be interested in offering digital learning, such as Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges. Supports will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.

The province is also distributing $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution’s most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.

Additional Resources

Go to NSLSC.ca or www.canada.ca/student-financial-assistance for more details on student financial assistance.

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Learn about travel advisories related to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

If you are a health care professional, learn how to protect yourself and your patients by reading our guidance documents.

A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

What we should be doing is moving toward what U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has advocated – wiping out all student debt, and making college and university free for all Canadians, and paying for this by raising taxes on the upper 10 per cent who pay little or no taxes now.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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