Ontario is increasing the annual maximum amount of financial aid available to college and university students and introducing new measures to “help students repay their Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan.”
These new measures include:
Indexing the Ontario maximum student aid levels annually to inflation, starting with the 2015-16 school year.
Launching the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program, a new initiative that will allow past borrowers who defaulted on the Ontario portion of their student loan to bring their loan back into good standing.
The Ontario student loan limit will increase by $5 for the 2015-16 school year, to $155 per week for single students and $355 per week for students who are married or have dependent children.
To ensure OSAP remains sustainable in the long term, Ontario is also raising the debt cap – the level above which student loans are forgiven – by indexing it to inflation every year. Repayable debt will remain at 60 per cent of the maximum amount of financial aid available to students.
Ontario is the first province in Canada to index maximum student aid levels to inflation. By increasing the Ontario student loan limit with inflation each year, a student starting a four-year university degree in 2014-15 would be eligible to receive about $1,000 more in financial aid over the four years.
For the 2015-16 school year, Ontario will cap student debt to no more than $7,400 for a two-term academic year. “Ontario is committed to making postsecondary education accessible based on a student’s ability to learn, not their ability to pay,” said Dr. Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By taking important steps to increase the amount of financial aid available to students, improve flexibility in the repayment process and tie debt caps to inflation, our government is ensuring that our student assistance programs remain sustainable and can continue to help all qualified students attend college or university, regardless of their income.”
In 2013, Ontario issued more than $1.3 billion in grants and loans – 70 per cent of this aid was grants that students did not have to repay.