Most OSAP overpayments recovered

Posted on April 7, 2016 in Education Debates – Opinion/Readers’ Letters – Re: OSAP overpays students by $700M, April 1
Apr 07 2016.   David Lindsay

Ontario has one of the most generous financial aid systems in the country and on top of government Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) funding, universities provide $170 million in additional support to students to help reduce tuition costs.

Unfortunately, your story on overpayments of financial aid to Ontario students left a different perception.

Universities want to educate more students and are refining the system to give families with less than $50,000 in income the equivalent of free tuition.

Many of the issues around OSAP identified in your article are addressed in recently announced changes to Ontario’s financial aid system. In fact, almost all of the overpayments are recovered, and the amount not repaid represents about 0.5 per cent of the total assistance provided by OSAP to students in need.

The problem of students incorrectly estimating their own income was resolved last year by assuming a flat $3,000 contribution from students.

The problem of students being cut off from aid if they have not repaid overpayments is being addressed by rule changes, and there has always been an appeal process.

The problem of incenting students to under-report the income of their parents will be addressed under the new system that expects lower contributions by parents.

All qualified students in Ontario, regardless of their financial situation, can attend university because of the availability of scholarships, bursaries and student aid provided by the Ontario government and universities.
That’s something to be admired.

David Lindsay, president and CEO, the Council of Ontario Universities, Toronto

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