EDITORIAL: Grants to college students failed primary math

Auditor Genera Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report launched Wednesday demonstrates why Ontario’s public funds had been heading over a cliff when premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal authorities was defeated within the June 7 election.

Lysyk’s audit of the Ontario Pupil Help Program (OSAP) is a living proof.

The 12 months earlier than the election, the Wynne authorities modified the funding mannequin for OSAP — a $2 billion-a-year program offering monetary help to school and faculty college students.

The Liberals dramatically elevated the sum of money accessible in this system for non-repayable grants to college students, versus repayable loans, to 98% from the earlier 12 months’s 60%.

Because of this, this system’s price rose 25% in a single 12 months.

The variety of college students receiving assist elevated 24% for college candidates, 27% for faculty candidates.

However enrolment in universities solely elevated 1% in universities, 2% in schools.

Lysyk mentioned whereas it was too early to find out the long-term implications of the brand new funding association with out extra knowledge over an extended time period, the speedy impression was apparent.

“We concluded that a big portion of the brand new OSAP recipients had been already attending faculty or college — and paying for it by themselves or with loans — even earlier than they certified for the brand new assist,” she mentioned. 

Lysyk additionally mentioned due to restricted knowledge assortment by the Wynne authorities, it didn’t know whether or not OSAP recipients who had been out of highschool for at the least 4 years and had been nonetheless residing at house with their dad and mom, “truly wanted OSAP help.”

Ontario Auditor Basic Bonnie Lysyk releases the 2018 annual report at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

So total, right here’s what occurred.

There was a dramatic enhance in taxpayer funding for a program supposed to assist extra college students from low- and middle-income households attend faculty or college.

However most of it went to greater grants, versus loans, for OSAP recipients already enrolled in post-secondary establishments.

And due to restricted knowledge assortment, the Liberals had little thought of whether or not these college students wanted the additional cash to remain in class.

We suspect the Liberals didn’t a lot care which college students bought the cash, so long as they voted Liberal within the June election.

Which is another reason why Ontario’s funds had been in such a multitude once they had been voted out in June after 15 years in energy.

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