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Federation of Students supports changes to new budget

February 25th, 2016

The Federation of Students, a member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), is glad to see financial aid changes included in the 2016 provincial budget. The budget’s official release came on February 25, 2016 and the changes will support many students.

“We are very happy with the new Ontario Students Grant program presented in the 2016 budget," said Stephane Hamade, vice-president education for Feds. "This budget will make it easier for students, and especially low income students, to access post-secondary education."

The budget will combine the 30 percent Ontario Tuition Grant, Ontario Student Opportunity Grant, and Ontario Access Grant into a new Ontario Student Grant (OSG). Tuition and tax credits will be re-purposed to support the new grant, which is one thing OUSA and Feds made a priority for years.

Feds is pleased the OSG will apply to students for four years within their lifetimes instead of only for four years after high-school. Co-op students will continue having fifth-year eligibility, as they did with the Ontario Tuition Grant.

Also, no student who benefited from the previous 30 percent-Off Ontario Tuition Grant will lose out. The OSG will introduce important savings for low and middle-income students, defined as those with family incomes of $50,000 or lower, or having grants available that exceed average tuition, since this is a reality also existing for over 50 percent of students with family incomes of $83,000 or less.

Mature and married students will receive key improvements including lower spousal and eliminated parental contributions, and grant eligibility regardless of the gap between high school and post-secondary.

Other improvements include weekly assistance maximum levels rising for individuals, married, and sole-support parents, and an OSAP debt cap of 10,000 for higher-income families. Indigenous communities will also be receiving a $97 million investment over the next three years, which will ensure more First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners access post-secondary education and training.

The Perimeter Institute will be receiving $50 million, and this is a great investment for University of Waterloo faculty and students who do cutting edge research there. Feds is also glad to see an investment of $35 million into the Advance Manufacturing Consortium, which includes the University of Waterloo.

About the Federation of Students

Since 1967, the Federation of Students (Feds) has been the voice of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. Feds undertakes initiatives both on and off campus to serve, empower and represent students. Feds operates seven commercial services, nine student-run services, oversees over 200 student clubs and societies and Orientation Week. For more information, please visit Feds.ca.

*Includes content from OUSA.