Volume 91, Issue 22

Friday, October 3, 1997

Sock it to the loo


The 100 per cent OSAP plan

Brad Protocky
Actuarial Science II

With tuition increasing at a phenomenal rate, everyone is saying a university education will soon only be available to the rich. OSAP being based on income does not help the matter. Those students who get good marks but their parents make too much for them to get OSAP, however, not enough to put the them through school, are out of luck. This is a problem. So, here is my idea on how to reform not only the OSAP system, but ensure those who deserve a university education get one.

First off, OSAP should be given on a merit basis, not on an income basis. Anyone not achieving a 70 per cent average need not apply for OSAP. Determine how much a person gets by where they stand academically, not financially, meaning those with the highest marks are the first to receive OSAP regardless of parents income. If their parents make five million a year, who cares? They earned the money academically, so give it to them. By awarding OSAP in this manner you are encouraging academic excellence rather than what the OSAP system encourages now – nothing. As we know, to get into a university, the institution looks at your grades, not your parents income. So keep it consistent.

Paying back the loan should be done in a manner which also rewards academic excellence. First off, the interest rate on your loan should be determined by taking one-fifth of 100, minus the overall average (for your entire time in university). With this system, the highest interest rate you will pay is six per cent. After all, anyone who cannot maintain a 70 per cent average doesn't get the money. So those who end up with 70 per cent overall, pay six per cent and those who end up with a 95 per cent pay one per cent.

When do you have to start paying it back? Well here's how it works: the first year you only have to pay the interest. After that you would have to pay back five per cent plus your interest rate. So if you interest rate is five per cent you have to pay back 10 per cent a year.

Everyone who gets a government loan hopes for forgiveness on part of it. So let's also have it so that forgiveness is determined by academic standing. Let's take the overall average and subtract 100 from it. This will give us a negative number. Now we have to determine what the maximum forgiveness should be. Well, 30 per cent is pretty good, after all this isn't and shouldn't be regarded as free money – it is a loan. So add to this negative number we got previously 30. For example: 80-100 = -20+30 = 10, therefore this person would get 10 per cent of his/her loan forgiven.

All of a sudden there is a system which is based on academic performance rather than income, making a university education available to those who have earned it in the classroom.

Bottom line: If you do not put 100 per cent into your studies while here at university, don't waste your time, the university's time, your money or your parent's money, or the government's money depending on where you get it. You might as well leave and do something worthwhile with your time, something that you will get 100 per cent out of.

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997