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By Matthew Le Blanc

Changes in OSAP could help students breathe easier when it comes to furthering their education starting this year.

With an estimated 70 per cent of future jobs requiring post-secondary education, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy says acquiring an education should be based on a student’s ability to learn and not from lack of funding.

“We’ve tried to help make sure there are no financial impediments to students who are coming for post-secondary education,” said Milloy. “Make it very affordable with the goal that no student ever feels they can’t go to college or university for financial reasons.”

Milloy also said the province is reforming the process in an attempt to make it simpler and more efficient. For starters, fewer forms will be required when applying for both the Ontario Student Assistance Program and the Student Access Guarantee Program.

One of the other key changes taking effect is a six month no-interest no-payment period which begins after graduation. This gives students the opportunity to find their footing after schooling instead of worrying about their debt.

When it comes time for repayment of the loan, students will have the opportunity to make $100 a week without being penalized, with the maximum amount capped at 20 per cent of a student’s household income.

The provincial government has put up $81-million in financial support this year for college and university students.

The changes made to OSAP are expected to help 210,000 Ontarians.

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