OSAP changes are a first good step

BY LUCAS HUTTERI

I recall my OSAP application to be incredibly obnoxious and stressful to the point where I considered skipping OSAP and paying more for college just so I would avoid the headache of applying. It felt like I had spent hours trying to apply, and after I finished I asked myself if it was worth the hassle.

Luckily for future students, they won’t suffer from as many OSAP-induced headaches. Ontario announced on Jan. 16 that the OSAP application process will be made easier for students. A new tool has been created for students to see their estimated tuition costs for various programs they’ve applied for as well as the estimated amount that OSAP will cover.

The tool asks some simple yes or no questions as well as your school and program and it will spit out a tuition estimate once you’ve finished. It doesn’t take long.

I think this is a good first step toward streamlining the post-secondary education application. Maybe I’m slightly challenged when it comes to applications and documentation, but personally I’ve always found it confusing, difficult and stressful to manage and keep track of OSAP and other education-related finances. I can’t be the only student who contemplates opting for intentional and repeated head trauma when faced with these applications.
In addition to the new tool, students receiving OSAP will receive bills from their institute that have already been reduced by the amount of OSAP aid they receive.

This is another well needed change to the current OSAP formula. I and many other students have spent too much time figuring out what OSAP has paid already. I see no reason why, in the past, the bills couldn’t have shown only what we still owed. Something so crucial to the education of students across Ontario should not be confusing in the slightest.

OSAP applications for the 2018-19 school year opened in November 2017, giving students and families four extra months to make important decisions for their education and for their future.
A lot of these educational decisions can be life-changing. More time for students to think and plan out how they want to carve their path in education is greatly appreciated. I’m glad Ontario is putting more effort into helping post-secondary students of all ages get the education they want.

These changes to the OSAP formula are a great starting point for streamlining the process of post-secondary education. Students are already stressed from projects and exams. We don’t need to be stressed out by other unnecessary problems. Ontario should continue to make an effort to make the entire process of applying, receiving and finishing post-secondary education simple and seamless.

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