Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


Senate revisions disable confusion

Western removes toxic substance

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

London population grows stagnant

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city

Public suports more funding



In the city

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Students repaying their Ontario Students Assistance Program loans will soon be able to kill two birds with one stone.

Currently, the repayment of provincial and federal OSAP loans are required to be paid separately. However, a joint decision between the two governments will soon allow payments to be made together.

"The agreement is to amalgamate the [provincial and federal student loans]," said Dave Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education. He said the new system, which will be implemented in August 2000, will be much easier for students.

Ross explained although paying one bill will lessen the hassle of loan repayments, the interest rates will not be affected.

Sandra Ferguson, VP-client relations at Edulinx, the company which oversees the student loan process for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said the change will serve to streamline the loan process, but an in-depth assessment of the new procedure has yet to be performed.

"One issue students had was that it is extremely confusing to have two loans with two different sets of rules," she said. "I believe it's a change for the better. It will make it easier to process paperwork and it will make the rules the same."

Henry Mandebaum, executive director of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, said although the government may be attempting to simplify the process of repaying student loans, the system does not address the problem of university students accumulating a high debt load because of high tuition rates. "We know of some difficulties in students paying their loans," Mandebaum said.

He added the government may be looking to make loans simpler, but the fact is tuition is much too high for university students. "With tuition, what you're having is increased debt load," he said.

Overall, Mandebaum said he felt the new system was not helping students the way it should be. "Whether you're paying to one government or two, it makes little difference," he said.

Mark Kissel, VP-education for the University Students' Council felt the government was making a move in the right direction in simplifying the loan re-payment plan. "It's going to be great for students," he said. "It cuts down the red tape."

However, Kissel agreed with Mandebaum and said although it may be easier to pay back their loans, students are sinking into a bigger pit of debt. "It's helpful in a way, but it doesn't solve the issue," he said. "We're still paying too much money."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999