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Tuition up, OSAP down: students feel the hit

By Angela Forgeron

The road to higher education for Ontario students has been cluttered with even more obstacles this fall.

Changes to OSAP and another 10 per cent tuition increase mean students will be even further in debt.

“It’s a double-whammy situation,” said Jennifer Henry, a third-year hospitality and tourism student. “OSAP is giving you less money at the beginning of the year and you have to pay more for tuition, she said, while standing in line to get her loan documents signed.

Henry figured by time she graduates she will owe more than $20,000 in student loans.

About 60 per cent of full-time students in Canada need a loan to attend college or university.

Felicia Miedema, a third-year photo arts student, and it’s “restricting” for students to have such a heavy debt when they graduate.

She came back to school this year for her second degree after graduating from the University of Guelph.

“Way back in 1990 when I started university I didn’t pay attention to tuition because it was so low,” said Miedema. “Now I envy people who don’t have a debt load when they graduate.” Miedema said she’d rather live with bad credit for a few years, than pay off OSAP for decades.

In 1990, student owed about $8,7000 at graduation. That amount will increase to an estimated $25,000 in the next two years, making Canada one of the most expensive countries in the world to get an education. Only American students have equal or higher debts than Canadians when they graduate.

In the past 10 years, tuition fees have soared 140 per cent, up 60 per cent in the last four years.

Ontario undergrads pay on average the second highest tuition in the country at $3,234, only behind Nova Scotia’s $3,737. The average full-time college diploma or certificate program in the province costs about half, at $1,700.

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