“Ontario post-secondary students were already paying some of the highest tuition fees in Canada, and were saddled with an average debt load of $28,000. … “It is unfair to expect post-secondary students reeling from months of financial hardship and facing a limited campus and in-class learning experience this Fall to pay the same hefty tuition fees that were too high to begin with.” – Ontario NDP MPP Chris Glover
News from Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democratic Party
Posted September 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large
The Ontario NDP is urging the Ford government to provide Ontario post-secondary students with direct pandemic tuition relief of $1,000 to each full-time student and $500 to each part-time student, and is asking the government to stop clawing back the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from students’ OSAP supports.
NDP MPP Chris Glover, also an adjunct professor at York University, was joined Tuesday morning by post-secondary students from different parts of the province, who spoke out to stress the additional financial pressures college and university students are facing as a result of COVID-19.
Students from the Canadian Federation of Students, the College Student Alliance and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance joined MPP Glover in calling for $1,000 pandemic relief for full-time students and $500 for part-time students.
“Ontario post-secondary students were already paying some of the highest tuition fees in Canada, and were saddled with an average debt load of $28,000,” Glover said.
“I have heard from students across the province that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified their financial burdens, causing job losses for many of them and their families, and making it that much harder to afford tuition. The cost of the pandemic relief we are asking for is roughly equivalent to reversing just one year of Ford’s cut to OSAP.”
Doug Ford’s 2019 budget slashed funding for OSAP and student financial assistance by about 30 per cent, and targeted low and middle-income students by cutting grants and cranking up the amount of interest students must pay. Glover and the Ontario NDP have been calling for the conversion of loans to grants and the elimination of interest on existing student debt.
During the pandemic, students saw their part-time and summer employment opportunities dwindle. Yet the Ford government made things worse by allowing the income students received from CESB and CERB to be clawed back from their OSAP payments, taking rent and food money right out of their pockets.
“It is unfair to expect post-secondary students reeling from months of financial hardship and facing a limited campus and in-class learning experience this Fall to pay the same hefty tuition fees that were too high to begin with,” Glover said. “Immediate tuition relief from the government and an end to OSAP clawbacks for emergency pandemic benefits are necessary first steps to giving students the support they need.”
MPP Glover will host a virtual town hall on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. (https://www.chrisglovermpp.ca/upcoming_events) to discuss pandemic relief for post-secondary students.
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