May 23rd, 2018

Horwath will convert student loans to grants, forgive interest on student loans

NORTH YORK — Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath laid out her commitment Wednesday to turn all OSAP student loans into unrepayable grants, and to stop the government from profiting off students by ending interest payments.

That change will be retroactive to students with outstanding loans who have already paid interest to the province, Horwath told students at Seneca college.

“We have incredible colleges and universities in Ontario, and young people should be leaving these colleges with a bright future ahead of them – not a mountain of debt repayment ahead of them,” said Horwath. “People are taking on thousands of dollars in student loans. It’s keeping graduates living in mom and dad’s home longer. The crushing debt is even preventing young people from starting their own family.

“It really doesn’t have to be this way.”

The Wynne Liberals have underfunded our colleges and universities for 15 years, so Ontario’s students pay the highest tuition in Canada.

Doug Ford’s promise to cut over $6 billion will make the situation much worse. His deep cuts would make life less affordable for students and graduates, and it would put universities and colleges even deeper in the hole. And his promise to ‘leave no stone unturned’ when it comes to privatization puts all public education at risk.

“The reality is that students who graduated 15 years ago when the Liberals came to office may still be in debt today,” said Horwath. “That holds them back, and it holds Ontario back. So let’s do something about it. Let’s make their lives more affordable.”

Horwath’s Change for the Better platform will make life more affordable for students, grads, and families by:

  • Converting future OSAP loans to grants, and paying back any interest paid on existing loans
  • Creating 27,000 new paid co-ops and internships to help students get the work experience they need to kickstart their careers
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and tying future increases to inflation
  • Closing the minimum wage loopholes that allow students and servers to be paid less
  • Making sure everyone has access to the care they need – no matter their employment status – by introducing truly universal pharmacare and dental care for everyone