Is OSAP trying to help me or not?

There were some tears when I first saw my funding estimate. After seeing the reactions from other students online, I considered myself lucky that most of my tuition will be covered. This is likely because I lived with my single mother who has income of under $50,000.

Some students with household incomes over $50,000 didn’t receive enough funding to even get them groceries for the year let alone their tuition. The Ford government assumes that all parents are able to help their children pay their schools and that students must have years of money saved up to help them through school. Not everyone is that lucky.

I spent the majority of my childhood assuming that my dad would help me with my expenses, as he told me so. Fast forward through a long divorce, and I had no one to help me pay my tuition bills when college came around. My mom works hard and long hours, but surviving alone is expensive.

While living with her, I helped her pay for rent and food. It’s difficult to save money when every dollar I earned went towards expenses that I didn’t have a choice but to pay. My first year of college I received around $7,400.00 for my collective expenses. My tuition was covered by my grant and my loan was enough to pay my rent for the first semester.

I still had to pay my rent out of pocket second semester with a couple hundred dollars of OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program), which was manageable.

Before the Ford government took control of OSAP, I was receiving moderate support. In the summer of 2019, I worked two jobs and my mom gave me some wiggle room to save up so I could move into my own place. I thought that because I am now living on my own, OSAP would provide me with money to help me out with rent for both semesters and in addition to my tuition covered.

This year I received just over $6,300.00. My tuition for each semester is around $2,500.00. For the first semester, my tuition will be covered but I am not receiving enough help for my rent. For second semester, I will be $7 short on my tuition and receiving no support money at all.

I feel as if I am being teased. It’s ridiculous to me that I’ve been cheaped-out by such a small amount on my tuition grant. All of my savings are going towards my rent during the second semester so I can hopefully avoid any months coming up short.

It’s frustrating that OSAP is putting people in situations where they might worry about being evicted from their homes. Some students have ridiculous course loads that makes working enough hours to pay for basic necessities difficult. There are other things I worry about too, like what about the immediate interest rates afterwards on top of what I already owe.

It makes me think about how if I, a student that comes from a lower household income, is just a few dollars short in their grant for tuition, what about students whose households make over $50,000? Do they even receive money for their tuition?

And my final thought: why is the government putting millions of dollars towards horse racing instead of its own future citizens?

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.