Wasted Tuition Grants Should be Axed Altogether
After Hudak’s ambitious 100,000 job cutting plan, the PC leader has now set his sights on cutting out clutter. One of the most pertinent to Ontario parents and students is the 30% tuition grant, which Hudak proposes to axe amongst a smorgasbord of other programs also on the chopping block.
Next year, I will be attending my third year of university and the tuition for my program will rise from $7,000 to over $20,000. I thought that the 30% grant would greatly reduce the future financial burden of my program. Having heard Hudak’s proposal, I initially thought that the 30%grant cut was crossing the line—but upon further inspection from OSAP’s website, I learned that the maximum grant available was a mere $840 per term—not even one tenth of my tuition.
But my case is unique as my situation doesn’t nearly represent the 447,000 students in Ontario universities. As it currently stands, the grant doesn’t go directly towards tuition. Instead, it is a cheque issued to either parents, or the students. From there, the money can be spent in any form or fashion. Personally, the grant allowed me to enjoy more spending cash as I purchased more groceries and ate out more frequently. Yet, my spending patterns are nowhere near universal to what the average student spends their money on.
Although I abstain from alcohol, most students do not. Despite what you might think of university kids, partying and binging is a rite of passage. And Chinese parents, before you jump to conclusions that it’s just a specific demographic or ‘trouble kids’ that drink at university, I’ve found that partying and alcoholism amongst students is universal, whether it is Indian international students, or Chinese computer science majors. Even for my own girlfriend, (who actually pays for her own tuition) the grant serves as a boon to her alcohol budget.
But it doesn’t end with just my girlfriend. In my first two years of university, I lost count of the number of times I heard from my peers, “my grant came in, let’s drink!” or “thanks to OSAP, I can party tonight”. Unfortunately, most of the grant and OSAP that is supposed to go towards tuition ends up as empty beer cans in the bin. That’s right—Ontario tax dollars are funding your children’s partying habits.
It’s a simple reality that all parents must face—students spend a lot of their money on alcohol. According to a survey conducted by Marketing Magazine, they found that the average student spends nearly $800 a year on nightlife (bars, clubs, etc) and booze. Given the ever-rising demand for trade skills and the alarming number of university undergrads who continue to graduate under qualified and remain unemployed, it would be wise for the government to realign their sights towards college tuitions.
If most of the grants aren’t going towards tuition, the program should be axed altogether. Indeed, there are some that will be wounded in Hudak’s war against waste, but Hudak must be vigilant in his cuts. As a business and economics student, I’ve long studied the causes of irresponsible spending and borrowing. Under the McGuinty and Wynne regime, Ontario’s deficit has ballooned to over $280 billion and if we continue to keep spending at our rate, Ontario will eventually hit the proverbial wall. The road to recovery is arduous and rough--Ontarians will need to tighten their belts to get there. Turn out the lights guys, the party’s over.
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