Windsor

Twitter outrage: Students react to OSAP cuts

The Ontario government has said it's putting students first by cutting tuition fees by 10 per cent, but students on Twitter are saying otherwise.

As estimates for OSAP grants and loans roll in, students say the numbers are lower than expected

Prabhneet Tibb says the cuts will make it more difficult to make ends meet next school year. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

The Ontario government said it's putting students first by cutting tuition fees by 10 per cent, but students on Twitter are saying otherwise. 

This week, many students — including those at the University of Windsor — found that their estimated OSAP funding will be significantly less than they've received in previous years.

Windsor student Prabhneet Tibb started university two years ago, and throughout that time, she was able to get grants from OSAP — meaning she didn't have to pay back the government. 

But now, according to her estimate, she might only receive an $800 loan, compared to the minimum $1,000 grant she received in previous years.

Tibb says that amount will make things more difficult for her next year. 

"I am working part-time, but that's the only thing. You have to work part-time and you have to go to school. You can only make so much in the summer," she said.

Taking to Twitter

She's not the only student upset by changes to OSAP funding. The low estimates sparked online outrage, with some Ontario students saying they don't have access to additional funds to compensate for this cutback.

In a statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Training, College and Universities says students and their families make "great sacrifices" to pursue post-secondary education and that every dollar counts, which is why the government introduced the 10 per cent reduction to college and university tuition fees.

"In order to address the previous government's unsustainable spending, in January our government announced we are restoring financial sustainability to OSAP, to ensure the program supports the students who need it the most for years to come," the statement went on to say. 

University of Windsor Students Alliance (UWSA) president Jeremiah Bowers says any concerned students can always check to see if they're eligible for some assistance from their respective schools.

"There are a number of scholarships and bursaries that are available through the student awards and financial aid office at the University of Windsor. They tend to not be used or accessed," he said. 

Bowers explained that 68 per cent of the students at the university use OSAP and the cutbacks could cause a significant change at the school. 

Jeremiah Bowers says 68 per cent of students at the University of Windsor rely on OSAP. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

He added that the UWSA has been working with the university to find supports for students come September.

"I think going forward it'll be very important for students to rally together for this."

As for Tibb, she's hopeful that when she fills out her full OSAP form, she'll be able to get more than $800.

With files from Stacey Janzer

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