ON Government: Province Supports Postsecondary Students During COVID-19
Ontario Enabling Students to Complete the Academic Year, Offering Loan Payment Deferrals and Financial Support for Institutions
March 31, 2020
TORONTO — The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students and making sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to postsecondary institutions.
“During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments,” said Premier Ford. “Our government is doing everything it can to ensure our college and university students can take their exams and complete their school year while studying remotely.”
To support borrowers during this difficult period, loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30, 2020. This means that during this time, borrowers will not be required to make any loan payments and interest will not accrue on their OSAP loans. Borrowers can still make one-time payments via their online account or online banking if they want to repay their loans faster. Payments during this period will go entirely towards their loan principal.
“Students and their families make great sacrifices to attend postsecondary education and it is incumbent on us to do everything we can to ensure this academic year is not put in jeopardy,” said Minister Romano. “I want to thank our postsecondary institutions for their leadership in adopting alternative ways for students to study and take exams, while ensuring they practice physical distancing and stay safe.”
To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to postsecondary institutions. These interim digital learning supports, available in both French and English, will provide publicly-assisted colleges and universities with the technology they need to conduct year-end assessments, while preserving student privacy and the integrity of academic assessment.
Ontario will work with other partners who may be interested in offering digital learning, such as Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges. Supports will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.
The province is also distributing $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution’s most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.