Sudbury

Auditor general identifies Ontario colleges with high OSAP default rates

A recent report by Ontario’s auditor general report lists several college programs in the northeast where students have trouble repaying their student loans.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says 18 per cent of all student loans are in default

In her latest report, Ontario's auditor general Bonnie Lysyk listed 16 college programs in the province that have default rates of at least 60 per cent or higher. (Frederic Projean/Radio-Canada)

A recent report by Ontario's auditor general report highlights several college programs in the northeast where students have trouble repaying their student loans.

Overall, Bonnie Lysyk is concerned that 18 per cent of all Ontario Student Assistance Program, or OSAP loans are in default.

In her report, she listed 16 programs across Ontario that have OSAP default rates of at least 60 per cent or higher. Four of those are offered at colleges in northeastern Ontario.

The default rate for students in Cambrian College's general arts and science program was 66.7 per cent in 2016.

Dean Janice Clarke says that could be because it's very different from the college's other offerings.

"It's different from other Cambrian programs because it doesn't have a defined vocational outcome. You know, in the title it's general arts and science," she said.

"So if you come to Cambrian for the welding program, then you're training for a career in welding."

Clarke also points out the college can only do so much to help students.

"There's a lot of things that we do to help students afford the cost of education, but ultimately students are responsible for managing their finances," she said.

Meanwhile, 88.9 per cent of chef training students at Canadore College defaulted on their loans.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk names 16 programs in Ontario colleges with OSAP default rates of at least 60 per cent or higher. (Supplied/auditor.on.ca)

The college says that small class sizes can skew those numbers.

The OSAP default rates for welding and construction students at Sault College were both over 60 per cent in 2016.

The college says those numbers have improved, but didn't give any more details.

With files from Erik White

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