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OSAP cuts don’t have to mean the end of your post-secondary career

September 2019

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is reporting in Ottawa that, “…a number of University of Ottawa students say they’ve had to alter their course loads because of the $600 million cut to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).”

No doubt this scenario is playing out at other universities and colleges across the province too.

While OSAP cuts are definitely a problem, especially for students from lower-income households, it’s not the “doomsday” that some will make you believe. Besides, just like it’s bad for students to build up too much student-debt, with the obligatory interest payments that take more and more money out of your pocket, the provincial government is facing the same problem. Given that the interest alone on the provincial debt is over $13 billion a year, money that doesn’t go to fund things like social programs, healthcare, schools, roads and OSAP, we all have to realize that there have to be limits on government spending.

If you really want something, you do what you have to do. I admit I was VERY lucky that my parents saved for my university education (something all parents should TRY to do), but I also worked both summers and during the school year with the navy reserve to help pay my tuition.

Joining the military, either short term to earn some money for school or as a career is definitely a good option. Even as a reservist, I had limited benefits, such as dental coverage anytime and free prescriptions at the base pharmacy when on summer training. How many part-time jobs come with benefits, something that could be a bonus to students whose parents don’t have their own workplace or private coverage.

The Canadian Armed Forces has a program, for those who qualify, where they will pay all the costs for your for your post-secondary education a college or university of your choice (so not just Royal Military College), including books and academic equipment, along with guaranteeing you a job every summer, after which you do owe them service time. Now I know that the idea that the military will “own your rear-end” for three, four or five years afterwards may seem a little frightening, which is why I didn’t choose this option myself, even though I was in the reserves at the time. I had the money for university, so I didn’t think I needed this option. However, given that it took me a solid year to land a full-time job in my field, my opinion changed. Instead of thinking, “I owe THEM time,” I should have been thinking, “They owe ME a job.” In retrospect, maybe I should have made a different choice. That’s definitely something to think about.

This article quotes some students as saying they will have to get a part-time job or drop down to part-time studies. Well, welcome to real-life. That’s a reality for a lot of students. As long as your studies don’t suffer, there is no reason a student couldn’t get a part-time job during the school year. I had a lot of free time between classes when I was in university. An uncle of mine got his degree over 14 years.

Students could also try getting creative, such as seeking out private bursaries, scholarships, or other opportunities. ​

At McDonald’s, management trainees who complete their in-house training program are given advanced standing for two years of a three-year Business Administration diploma program. All the management trainee needs to do is then attend a participating college for one year of in-class instruction to graduate. I don’t know what kind of a time commitment McDonald’s would expect from you, but you wouldn’t have to spend the rest of your life at McDonald’s, after which you could go anywhere with your B.A. training.

Companies like McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s or Home Depot are nothing to dismiss as beneath you. A McDonald’s manager makes more that minimum wage and that Business Administration diploma you earn through them could serve you well in other jobs, including within the greater McDonald’s corporation.  There are many McDonald’s corporate executives and franchise owners who started out flipping burgers for minimum wage.

Finally, students and their parents should be realistic about their job prospects after their post-secondary schooling. There is no point in getting a degree in stick figure drawing if there are no jobs for stick figure drawing artists. Better yet, maybe forget about the university or college route and pursue a career in the trades, where six-figure salaries are possible and people are in demand. Mike Holmes would be proud..

Learn more about the Forces’ Paid Education Program at https://forces.ca/en/paid-education.

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An edited version submitted to the Toronto Sun:

The CBC in Ottawa is reporting that, “…a number of University of Ottawa students say they’ve had to alter their course loads because of the $600 million cut to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).”

No doubt this scenario is playing out at other universities and colleges across the province too.​

OSAP cuts can be a problem, especially for students from lower-income households, but it’s not doomsday.  Besides, just like it’s bad for students to build up too much student-debt, with the obligatory interest payments, the provincial government is facing the same problem. Given that the interest alone on the provincial debt is over $13 billion a year, money that doesn’t go to fund needed programs like OSAP, there have to be limits on government spending. ​

My parents fortunately saved for my university education (something all parents should TRY to do), but I also worked both summers and during the school year with the navy reserve to help pay my tuition. Joining the military, either short-term to earn some money for school or as a career, is definitely a good option.  You do what you have to do.​

The Canadian Armed Forces has a program, for those who qualify, where they will pay all the costs for your for your education at a college or university of your choice (so not just Royal Military College), along with guaranteeing you a job every summer.  Now you will owe them some service time afterwards, which may seem a little frightening, but don’t think of it as, “I owe THEM time;” think of it as “They owe ME a job.”

Some students are quoted by the CBC as saying they will have to get a part-time job or drop down to part-time studies. Well, that’s a reality for a lot of students. As long as your studies don’t suffer, there is no reason a student couldn’t get a part-time job during the school year. I had a lot of free time between classes when I was in university. Also, some people do complete their education part-time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.​

Students could also try getting creative, such as seeking out private bursaries, scholarships, or other opportunities. ​

At McDonald’s, management trainees who complete their in-house training program are given advanced standing for two years of a three-year Business Administration diploma program.  All the management trainee needs to do is then attend a participating college for one year of in-class instruction to graduate.  I don’t know what kind of a time commitment McDonald’s would expect from you, but you likely wouldn’t have to spend the rest of your life at McDonald’s. ​

At companies like McDonald’s, a manager makes more that minimum wage and that Business Administration diploma could lead you to some great opportunities, including within the greater McDonald’s corporation.  There are many McDonald’s corporate executives and franchise owners who got their start flipping burgers in their restaurants.​

Learn more about the Forces’ Paid Education Program at https://forces.ca/en/paid-education.

Bruce Forsyth is a freelance writer and the webmaster for www.miliarybruce.com.

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Sources: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/university-ottawa-osap-cuts-school-returns-1.5264636?fbclid=IwAR0FeXAQ4_zBnbEkuJMIgrmwn9rW89i_V1CioN7cSYb6Aan-FqN0GdzAIg4

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/osap-cuts-dont-have-to-mean-the-end-of-your-post-secondary-career/

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