The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) has changed its procedure for distributing loans and grants to students. The old option for a direct deposit has been eliminated and tuition is now paid directly to post-secondary institutions.
The change has sparked a range of responses from students and staff. Some say they enjoy the convenience of the change while others say they are upset they no longer have the option to choose how much money is allocated to various school-related costs.
The OSAP website states that funding for the current 2018-2019 school year will automatically be sent to a student’s school, and any remainder will then be deposited directly into their bank account. The OSAP website also urges students to check their student accounts in order to see how much OSAP funds will be applied against tuition bills, and whether or not there is a remaining balance.
The change is drawing mixed reviews from students. Second year child and youth student Hannah Akindele, 19, has concerns
“OSAP sending tuition electronically directly to my school makes me feel relieved in a way, because I don’t have to go through that process of asking the registration office if my money has been fully paid. Instead they send me an invoice saying that it has been paid. But I’m concerned if they will continue this method of payment after this year,” says second year child and youth student Hannah Akindele.
For Akindele the change is mostly appreciated but for students like second year accounting student Zam Subaldo the adjustment is not as helpful.
“There is still an outstanding fee on my tuition so I have mixed feelings about it. They sent my entire tuition but on my Humber account it still says that there’s an outstanding balance so I’m confused on what to do because I can’t keep track of it.”
Financial Aid manager, Daniel Castillo-Sanchez at Humber’s Office of Registrar says the changes in OSAP payment procedures were mandated by the provincial government.
“The redirection of funds before this year was optional, students could direct the funds straight to the college or the institution. In 2018 the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities changed that to automatically include direct-to-college,” he says. He says students shouldn’t expect a return to the previous system any time soon.
“It’s permanent because of the free tuition initiative which was the government’s way of issuing grants to students, while making sure that grants are actually paid towards tuition. So this way, colleges and universities do not have to go back and forth with student to decipher who chose to redirect and who didn’t. It’s automatic if you owe the college or university we can go ahead and request the amount and it comes straight to the college, insuring that grants are used for what they are intended for.”