Student experiment highlights deficiencies in financial aid

TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Beginning today, students at four Ontario universities will undertake a three-week experiment: They will attempt to eat a healthy, balanced diet while spending only $7.50 a day on food - the same amount allocated for food by the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

Entitled "Food For Thought", the experiment will be co-ordinated by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). Participants will blog and video blog on their experiences at www.ousa.ca/foodforthought.

The OSAP need assessment uses a standard living allowance for every student living away from home. It totals $34.72 per day, of which $7.50 is allocated to food costs and the rest is meant for shelter, public transit, and miscellaneous expenses. Over the course of a year, this living allowance is $3,000 less than the poverty line for a city of over 100,000 people.

"Given that OSAP expects students to live below the poverty line, I expect our participants will have a great deal of difficulty eating a healthy, balanced diet," said OUSA President Dan Moulton. "I hope the results of this experiment will convince the provincial and federal governments to fix the broken OSAP assessment formula and end the institutionalization of student poverty."

Taking part in the experiment are students from Wilfrid Laurier University, Queen's University, the University of Western Ontario, and Brock University.

A number of organizations dedicated to poverty and social justice issues have pledged their support, including the Council of Canadians, Canada Without Poverty, and university food banks across the Province.

OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven Ontario institutions.

SOURCE Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact Alvin Tedjo, Director of Communications & Public Relations, Office: (416) 341-9948, Cell: (647) 669-6885, Email: communications@ousa.on.ca

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Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

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