Waterloo Region Record

OSAP not a free ride


Re: Taylor Swift sends $6,386 for UW student’s tuition — Aug. 14

Recently, The Record published an article on Taylor Swift’s donation to Ayesha Khurram, a University of Waterloo student. I commend Taylor’s selfless act, which helped Ayesha continue studies after cuts to OSAP threatened that for her. This should be welcomed, but not be cause for celebratio­n. Acts of kindness cannot be relied on to preserve access to post-secondary education in Ontario.

This is a situation where OSAP should have come through for Ayesha. In contrast to recent provincial cuts, the 2016 OSAP transforma­tion vastly expanded OSAP. Grants were distribute­d based on need, funded by reallocati­ng existing post-secondary spending, with many other students able to access loans.

OSAP is not a program that gives students a free ride for all expenses. Parents are expected to contribute to students’ costs and students are expected to work full-time during the summer to pay for school; both of these are and were included in OSAP calculatio­ns.

I fear that many students like Ayesha will now slip through the cracks. I hope that all Ontarians will ask their elected representa­tives to make the long-term investment to protect access to a system that lets students work hard to build a better future.

Matthew Gerrits

Vice -president, education Waterloo Undergradu­ate Student Associatio­n, University of Waterloo

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