TORONTO, April 19 /CNW/ - The Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA) arrived at Queen's Park today to ask the provincial government to increase the maximum loan allocations, available through their Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), to ensure that medical school is accessible for all students across the province.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing a lot of bright students being discouraged from studying medicine due to the financial commitment that is associated with medical school," said Caitlin Symonette, Co-chair of OMSA. "Medical school tuition has continued to rise and corresponding financial assistance has not kept pace."
The government recently announced that it will be increasing OSAP maximum loan allocations from $11,500 to $12,240 a year and while OMSA believes that this is a step in the right direction, the average tuition fee for medical school in Ontario is $17,371. This leaves medical students with a significant financial gap to fill. It is important to note that students still have to take into account the cost of books, rent and other incidental expenses that are associated with medical school.
More than 40 medical students will be meeting with members of all three provincial parties to discuss the importance of ensuring that OSAP allocations reflect the average tuition of Ontario's medical schools.
According to the 2007 National Physicians' Survey, increasing tuition levels over the years have affected the diversity of students applying to medical school. The survey found that the number of students who come from rural and small communities, as well as low income families have decreased significantly. OMSA believes that it is important that the medical school population reflects Ontario's diversity.
"We know that students applying from rural and small communities are more inclined to return to their communities to practise medicine," says Christina Nowik, Co-chair of OMSA. "By increasing OSAP maximum loan allocations, we can strengthen the health-care system by ensuring that medical school is accessible to a diverse group of students across the province."
SOURCE Ontario Medical Association
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