BY TAYLOR SCHWEITZER
Homework, studying, stress and spending are some of the concerns that students have throughout the school year.
To help relieve some of the stress and concerns about money, a lot of students choose to apply for an Ontario Student Assistance Program loan to help them pay for school.
The program run by the Ontario government lends money to students who are in financial need throughout their years of school. The downfall? You have to pay some of it back.
“Students need a financial plan and the start of the financial plan is a budget,” said Sophia Hilbert, manager of Student Financial Services at Conestoga College. “Students need to recognize the costs associated with education as well as living expenses during their studies. They need to identify where the income is coming from: summer job, part-time work, parents or other family, OSAP or other loans.”
For some students, saving and earning money to pay back their OSAP debt is already on their to-do list.
“OSAP adds a lot of stress to my school workload,” said Marissa Trussler, a first-year business administration – management student. “There’s always that cloud hanging over my head saying, “You better ace this test so you can be at the top and get the best job possible or OSAP will eat you alive.”
Students sometimes feel stressed because they are worried about OSAP budgets due to the switch of programs in college.
“Normally students are permitted to switch programs,” Hilbert said. “However, they will be required to provide rationale to OSAP, explaining the change. There is not usually a problem with the first program switch. OSAP will look more closely at subsequent program changes.”
Interest fees can add up if you don’t pay your OSAP money back by the due date.
“My spending habits were the first thing I had to change with OSAP,” Trussler said. “Since I was only given enough to pay for tuition and books with a bit of money leftover, I couldn’t buy new clothes or as much groceries as before.”
To reduce stress, it’s important to start saving money now and reward yourself later, after you have repaid your loans.