And, finally… the details

Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities John Milloy finally unveiled the rules for Ontario’s new “Textbook and Technology Grant” during the second week of the new academic year.

“Today’s students will build tomorrow’s knowledge economy, so we want to do everything we can to make sure students get the support they need to succeed,” Milloy said in a news release.

The government expects 550,000 students attending the province’s public colleges and universities to apply for the new grant.

The $150 grant comes with no strings attached and no requirement for students to provide any documentation to receive the money.

All full-time domestic students will receive the grant, including out-of-province students attending classes in Ontario. Ontario students attending classes out-of-province will not receive the grant.

In order to receive the grant, students must be receiving student loans from the Ontario government or apply online for the grant.

There is a deadline to apply for the grant. Students attending classes during the fall term only must apply within 30 days of the start of their study period. Students taking classes during both the fall and spring terms must apply within 90 days of the end of their study period*.

A student with a study period start date of September 2, 2008 who is only attending classes for one term must apply by October 2, 2008. A student who starts later will have a later application deadline date.

Students in default of their government loans or disqualified from applying for students loans will not receive the grant.

Student groups are giving the new grant mixed reviews.

“Students welcome this investment aimed at addressing the increasing costs of textbooks and technology,” says Trevor Mayoh, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, “However, we believe that an investment of this size would have a greater impact if it was targeted at those who need it the most. For example, an investment this large would significantly reduce the unacceptably high debt levels for students in Ontario.”

“This isn’t the way to address the high cost of education,” says Shelley Melanson, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario. “Decreasing tuition is an effective way of addressing accessibility, especially during a recession.”

“Where was the announcement weeks ago when students were applying for OSAP?” asks Melanson. “A mail-in rebate that students won’t see until mid-semester does little to relieve the up-front financial burden they face at the beginning of the semester.”

Student can find out more about the grant by visiting the OSAP website.

  • Correction: The original version of this article stated students must apply within 90 days of the start of their study period. For students taking more than one term of classes, it is within 90 days of the end of their study period.