Amy Wesselink turned her life the other way up so she may head again to highschool this month, however a delay in her Ontario pupil funding has her anxious she’s going to should drop out with almost $8,000 in tuition charges coming due.
A hairdresser and a single mother of 4, Wesselink says her revenue sank amid COVID-19 public well being measures. So she returned to highschool in 2020 to pursue a level on the College of Toronto that she hoped would construct a greater future for herself and her kids.
When the Ontario Pupil Help Program (OSAP) began taking purposes in Might of this yr, Wesselink utilized immediately. However greater than 13 weeks later, she’s nonetheless ready.
“I am questioning whether or not I ought to go ahead with the varsity yr,” stated Wesslelink. “I do not know even when I am getting funding. I do not know my quantity. I do not know after I’m receiving it.”
Wesselink is not alone. A number of college students have contacted CBC Toronto saying they’ve waited weeks longer than in previous years for information of their OSAP purposes or to obtain the cash, and lots of are nonetheless ready.
In 2020 and 2021, the primary two years of her Indigenous research main, Wesselink acquired her funding in August. However now, with her courses about to start, she has no approach to pay the $7,800 tuition. She says she’s contacted everybody from the Ministry of Faculties and Universities to OSAP to her faculty’s enrolment division, however has been provided no options.
“I’ve achieved the whole lot I am presupposed to do. I’ve submitted the whole lot. I did it early. You simply haven’t any recourse. There’s no one that can provide you solutions,” she stated.
She’s organized little one care and diminished her work schedule so she will attend in-person courses, all including to the prices she’s already shouldering to proceed her training.
Azi Afousi, president of the School Pupil Alliance, a provincial advocacy group, says whereas it isn’t occurring in all instances, she’s listening to of some college students who’ve been ready upwards of 12 weeks.
“I’ve by no means heard of OSAP delays at this degree. I’ve by no means heard of so many college students coming to pupil associations and monetary support workplaces with complaints about OSAP delays,” she stated.
The group has contacted the province however hasn’t gotten any actual solutions, Afousi says.
Ministry denies backlog
The Minister of Faculties and Universities, Jill Dunlop, denies any important backlog exists.
“I can guarantee college students that cash goes out the door,” she advised CBC Toronto.
She does say there are particular conditions that require further evaluate by workers and that’s being carried out in a well timed method.
The ministry can be encouraging involved college students to succeed in out to their faculty’s monetary support workplaces or examine the OSAP web site.
For its half, the Nationwide Pupil Loans Service Centre, which disburses the cash to college students, additionally says it isn’t experiencing a backlog.
“We aren’t conscious of normal delays on the provincial degree to course of information or at colleges to verify enrolment,” the centre stated in an electronic mail. “It’s, nonetheless, attainable that some colleges could also be slower than others to verify pupil enrolment.”
However the College of Toronto says the method is continuing usually this yr.
“The vast majority of our college students have already had their loans confirmed and funds distributed. We proceed to course of loans every day as we obtain them,” a U of T spokesperson advised CBC Toronto in an electronic mail Thursday night.
None of that is any consolation to college students who are nonetheless ready as courses start and extra bills pile up.
Bella Mackenzie, a first-year nursing pupil at Durham School, says whereas her OSAP software was lately authorised, she does not have the cash but. She says her books price almost $1,000 and different prices are leaving her pressured.
“I used to be relying on this cash, even to have the ability to pay for my textbooks, and now I’ve to pay for them out of pocket till I get that cash, which might take as much as six weeks,” she stated.
After talking to her monetary support workplace, Durham School is giving her a grace interval to pay her tuition, as a result of it can see from her software the cash is coming.
However she worries for many who haven’t any assurance their cash is on the best way.
‘Ministry must be extra open,’ pupil says
Jessica Urzua, a pupil at Humber School, spent the entire summer time anxiously ready for information of her software..
On the point of dropping out and having exhausted all different choices, the mother of two lately tweeted on the ministry in a last-ditch effort earlier than dropping by the wayside.
After partaking with a ministry workers member by direct messages, her software was processed the following day.
She is encouraging others to succeed in out in unconventional methods, like she did, to make sure they obtain the eye they deserve.
However she says the provincial authorities ought to acknowledge the delays are occurring.
“I simply really feel just like the ministry must be extra open with college students.”