TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Students are pleased by a proposed change to Canada's federal student financial assistance program announced by the Government of Canada on Tuesday. In Economic Action Plan 2014, the federal government announced that student-owned or leased vehicles will be eliminated from the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) assessment process at a cost of $14.8M for the first two years and $7.8M for subsequent years.
"Students urge the Province to follow the federal government's lead and eliminate student-owned and leased vehicles from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) needs assessment process," said Amir Eftekarpour, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and Vice-President External of the University Students' Council (USC) of Western University. "By eliminating vehicles from a student's need assessment, the federal government has recognized that transportation costs are an expensive necessity for many commuter students, especially those living in rural and northern communities."
Government financial assistance recipients studying at a university in Ontario receive 60 per cent of their aid from the federal government via the CSLP, with the additional 40 per cent coming from the provincial government via OSAP. To determine a student's financial need, both programs compare a student's educational costs to their personal and familial assets to determine need using different sets of criteria. As per the Government of Canada's announcement, the CSLP's assessment process will no longer consider student-owned or leased vehicles as a personal asset.
Students are not only asking the Province to merely eliminate vehicles from OSAP assessments, but for greater harmonization between the provincial and federal need assessment processes themselves. In OUSA's recent budget submission, Education Works: Envisioning a Fairer Society for Ontario's Youth, students provided a cost-neutral solution to achieve harmonization, and to improve OSAP's loan and grant programs.
"OUSA is asking the provincial government to better align its expected parental income contributions to those of the federal contribution criteria when assessing a student's financial need," continued Eftekarpour. "Differences between the assessment processes often result in middle-income students being unable to access adequate financial assistance, as the provincial assessment expects middle-income families to have more disposable income, and to contribute more of this disposable income towards their dependents' educational costs."
To read OUSA's 2014 Ontario Budget Submission, Education Works: Envisioning a Fairer Society for Ontario's Youth, click here.
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications, W: www.ousa.ca, T: (416) 341-9948, E: [email protected], Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educatedsolutions, Twitter: @OUSA