Volume 92, Issue 28

Friday, October 23, 1998



The golden rules.

There are lessons learned as a kid which lose their usefulness as you grow older. We've all heard them – "if you keep making that face it'll stay that way," or "i before e, except after c." However, other lessons build a solid foundation for successful adult interactions and should be honoured throughout life.

As part of a new policy implemented with the harmonization of the Ontario Student Assistance Program and Canadian Student Loans, part-time students (under OSAP's definition of two courses or less) will now be faced with a six-month deadline to consolidate or arrange how they plan to pay their loan. This includes full-time students already involved with OSAP who have changed to part-time.

Apparently, OSAP missed the day certain lessons were taught. So let's recap. Pay attention OSAP, you're looking at some time in the corner.

Life lesson #1 – play fair.

The theory behind the whole issue of changing loan agreements with students is hypocritical. Institutions such as OSAP are supposed to be based in the interest of the student, giving opportunities to those who are perhaps without Swiss bank account, yet still deserving of an education. The amount of courses these students take shouldn't be a discriminating factor. They are still students.

Life lesson #2 – assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.

This policy is based on sizable assumptions which just don't add up – the first one being students enrolled in only two courses have money to burn. More often than not, the reason behind attending university part-time is financial in nature. Students who can't afford full-time tuition choose to keep their foot in the door with a part-time course load. By demanding a six-month consolidation deadline, OSAP assumes there is a wealth of money not being used, simply because it hasn't been delegated towards course costs. But if these students had quicker access to tuition-bound money than full-timers, why would they need a loan in the first place?

Life lesson #3 – don't sneak up on your sister.

Although the policy was agreed upon a year ago and delayed to give students time to adjust, no announcement, government or otherwise, has been made to the student body. A large amount of students will be given a big fat surprise when a bank statement demanding money arrives at their door.

This is just one more reason why the government needs to finally reform student loans in this province. There's a lesson here for students as well – you've got to have eyes in the back of your head, because the hand that feeds you might also bite you back.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazette.editor@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998