Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Deb Matthews says changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program have resulted in approximately 50,000 new applications this year over last.
“I think the changes that we’ve made have really encouraged people to think about going on to College or University,” Matthews said after a round-table discussion with St. Lawrence College students in Kingston.
The changes, which were introduced in February of 2016, include free tuition for most applicants, shorter wait times for receiving loans and grants, a faster application process, more grants for students and fewer income-restrictions for applicants.
“We really wanted to make sure that money was not a barrier to post-secondary education. So we’ve really taken down that wall,” Matthews added.
Which means those from wealthier families will now be permitted to apply for assistance.
Another new feature has seen students who have put funds in Savings in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) receive the same amount of assistance as those who don’t.
Matthews’ visit to the Kingston campus of St. Lawrence College was one of many over the week as she gauges reaction to the changes from students who use the program.
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