Some College Students Can Get Money Back Since Strike Has Ended

The longest college strike in Ontario’s history can’t have been an easy journey for any party involved, students, faculty, and employers alike. But some might argue that students had it a little rougher than anyone else.

Some 500,000 students at Ontario’s 24 colleges were affected by the five-week college strike that ended on Sunday, November 19, and now, some students can get a full tuition refund, while others will be eligible to receive some money back for the hardship.

The province recently announced that the dedicated student hardship fund with net savings from the strike will in fact assist students who went through any financial hardship as a result of the strike.

Ontario has officially said that full-time domestic and international students will be eligible to receive up to $500 for “incremental unexpected costs they incurred.” That includes things like child care fees, train or bus tickets, or January rent.

Further, any strike-related support won’t count against a student’s OSAP assessment. This year, OSAP applications are available about four months earlier than usual.

“Ontario expects that students will be able to apply to their college for financial assistance through the fund starting this week.”

OSAP supports are being extended in general. Anyone receiving OSAP who’s likely to graduate before December 31, 2017, and who has their semester extended, will get additional OSAP. Those payments will be made in mid-December, according to the province.

Students currently receiving OSAP who have their winter semesters extended past the normal end date will also receive additional OSAP aid.

The hardship fund and the OSAP support are just part of the deal, for students who decide to continue with their education.

Meanwhile, there’s another offer for students who decide to withdraw from college within two weeks after they’re back in class because of the strike - they’ll get a full tuition refund. Apprentices can also apply if they can’t complete their in-school training because of the strike.

According to the province, this legislation was determined through “consultations with student leaders and their provincial associations and colleges.”

"Over the past month, I have heard from students about hardships they have experienced as a result of this strike,” said Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government. “It is clear that they have borne the brunt of this situation. That's why we are taking these measures to ensure students have the support they need to complete their studies, and continue working towards an education that will allow them to succeed in a highly-skilled workforce.”

The province says that it aims to work with students and colleges to finalize implementation plans in the coming days.

Students are slated to go back to class on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Faculty have been back on campuses as of Monday, November 20, 2017.

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