Western to crack down on plagiarism
New building busy
OSAP default rate drops
Tories alter labour laws over break
$30,000 and opening the new millennium
OSAP default rate drops
By Wes Brown
Post secondary students in Ontario are keeping their end of the bargain up as defaults on Ontario Student Assistance Program loans continued to fall in 2000.
"Default rates have fallen from 18.3 per cent in 1999 to 15.7 per cent [in 2000]," said Dave Ross, communications officer for Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Dianne Cunningham.
Ross said rates have declined at the university, college and private vocational school levels but significantly at the latter two. "University students are down 7.1 per cent from 8.4 per cent, while college and private school students are down more then two per cent each."
He pointed to an improvement both in the economy and the types of education being offered at the post secondary level as reasons why graduates are able to gain employment and pay back their debts.
Ontario Undergraduate Student Association executive director Ryan Parks said the statistics are a too subjective to tell the entire story. "The Ministry has an obligation to factor in things such as participation rates and what [social] groups in society are being represented," he said.
"If students from low income families are being cut altogether then obviously these people will not be struggling to pay back loans. This first priority is should be that all types of people are gaining access to education."
Parks added if in fact the default rates are dropping, the government should be looking into funneling these OSAP cost savings back into the education system.
Jeff Sutton, University Students' Council VP-education, said this information is not new, especially for university students. "They have always had a good history of paying back their loans."
Sutton said with this information the government should take the initiative and re-evaluate the interest rates currently on student loans. "I currently pay eight per cent interest on my provincial loan and 10 per cent on my federal," he said about the current interest rates he and many other students face.
"Interest rates should be lowered to a reasonable level, like prime rate, at the provincial level and a strong case has been made to eliminate it all together at the federal level," he added.
Ross said that if default rates continue to fall over time then the province would look at lowering the interest rate on student debts. "However, nothing has been committed to," he said.