It looks like students that use the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will not have their payments suspended during the second COVID-19 wave.
However, the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion recently to reintroduce moratoriums on the federal student loan repayments until May 31, 2021.
Once actioned by the government, this will freeze repayments and interest for federal student loan borrowers during the pandemic.
A spokesperson from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities told Daily Hive that students at public post-secondary institutions saw tuition rates decrease by 10% for the 2019-2020 academic year and that tuition rates remain frozen at those levels for the 2020-2021 year.
While the Ontario government made it possible for OSAP borrowers to have their payments deferred by temporarily suspending student loan payments and initiating a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans from March 30 to September 30, the same will not be done in the second wave.
“As the situation in Ontario continues to evolve, our government is working closely with our federal partners and the province’s colleges and universities to ensure students receive the high-caliber education and training they need to obtain rewarding careers,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The position taken by the Ontario government is one that isn’t sitting well with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
“The lack of support for post-secondary students in Ontario is extremely concerning,” Taylan McRae-Yu, Communications Coordinator for CFS, told Daily Hive.
“The reintroduction of provincial student loan moratoriums is a necessary first step to ensure student debt holders are able to afford necessities without being penalized. The burden of student debt was well understood prior to the pandemic, and that stress has now been amplified due to the economic downturn and a declining labour market.”
McRae-Yu added that with the holiday season approaching, with regions in a lockdown or tightening restrictions, CFS is asking for provincial governments to follow suit on the motion to suspend federal loan payments.