Survey reveals students need more from OSAP

TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Due to record unemployment, Ontario students are deeply concerned about finding the resources necessary to pay for their education, says a report released today. The "Canadian Student Survey: Summer Work and Paying for Post-Secondary Education" examines the strain of high youth unemployment rates, how students fund their education and how cash limitations affect their ability to pursue an education.

"Record levels of student unemployment have taken a heavy toll on Ontario students' bottom line and they are turning to the government for help," said Dan Moulton, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. "Over 225,000 students rely on the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), but it's just not meeting their needs."

OSAP requires each student to contribute a minimum $2,710 of summer income toward his or her education. This is based on a student working 30 hours a week over a 16-week summer and is imposed on every student, regardless of whether he or she was actually employed.

Survey participants reported saving an average of only $1,500 from their summer jobs, more than a thousand dollars less than OSAP assumes. Moreover, 30% of the students who reported working last summer worked less than 20 hours a week, and these underemployed students were more likely to be from Ontario.

"During a particularly difficult summer, thousands of students were unable to earn OSAP's arbitrary minimum contribution and did not receive enough government aid to fully cover their costs," added Moulton. "It's crucial that the provincial and federal governments revisit the summer contribution to ensure OSAP is there when students need it."

The "Canadian Student Survey: Summer Work and Paying for Post-Secondary Education" was a bilingual, multi-institutional survey conducted on university campuses across the country in the fall term of the 2009-10 academic year. It was commissioned by a partnership of student alliances across the country, including the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) and Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations (ANSSA).

The report is the first of three to be released this year, and can be found online at www.ousa.ca.

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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