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Tuition rebates ease debt stress

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BELLEVILLE, Ont. (01/30/2012)Child and Youth Worker student Matt Gagliardi, has received his 30% tuition rebate from the government of Ontario as of Jan. 30. The second-year student is eligible since he has been out of high school for less than five years, and his parents total income is less than $160,000 a year. Many students who are eligible have not applied for their rebate, leaving substantial amounts of money unclaimed. Photo by Manuela Garay-Giraldo.

By Manuela Garay-Giraldo

Over 300,000 post-secondary students across Ontario could benefit from the government’s new 30 per cent tuition rebate, but only 70,500 have submitted an application or started filling out an application as of last Friday.

Students are eligible if they met the following criteria: they are a full-time student at a public college or university in Ontario; it has been less than four years since they left high school, they are in a program applied to directly from high school; their parents’ gross income is $160,000 or less; they are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a protected person and they are an Ontario resident.

Students who are receiving OSAP are automatically submitted to receive the rebate, which can be up to $365 for college students or $800 for university students. As of Friday, Jan. 27, over 840 Loyalist College students had either submitted an application or had started filling out their application already, according to Tanya Blazina, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The government is funding the tuition grant by “redirecting funding from efficiencies as well as from an existing scholarship program and a few grant programs,” said Blazina. “We found efficiencies and savings that will fully offset the costs of the new tuition grant.” Many students on campus were surprised when they received their money.

“I was grocery shopping, and I checked my account and had $300 dollars more,” said Steph Benard, first-year community and justice services worker.
Others who have applied, but not yet received the rebate are already planning on how they will spend their money.

Tawni Rowe, first-year accounting said, “I’ll use my money to pay for my textbooks and it’s good for gas money, too.”
While some are happily receiving a bit of extra money, some mature students are left feeling a little bitter.

Tangye Seymour, first-year accounting, who has been out of high school since 2005, said “the specifications to qualify are brutal. That four-year limit makes it really hard for mature students. We could use the extra cash, too. Especially once you consider that we have more bills to pay than kids who just left high school and live with their parents.”
Blazina said, “the government’s commitment is to provide this grant to all eligible and qualifying students. If a student applies and qualifies, they will receive the grant.”

To apply for the tuition rebate visit http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/ [2] and apply by March 31.

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