Work study program grant doubles in size


McMaster will receive approximately $600,000 for its Ontario Work Study Program (OWSP) this year, almost double the 1999-2000 amount.

Liza Jamani, financial award administrator, Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships, notes that the increase “puts the University in a better position to increase the size of the envelope in addressing the post-secondary education costs for full-time students.” More students will be able to access the funding as a result, she says.

OWSP is designed to provide assistance to students in financial need. Various departments on campus submit proposals for part-time work and students then apply for these jobs. The maximum a student receiving funding through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) can earn in one year is $2,000. The employer pays 25 per cent of the hourly wages, with the remainder being paid for through OWSP.

Will this make a huge difference? Jamani says her office always receives many more applications from students then can be accommodated, based on the grant funding provided. In the 1999-2000 school year, for example, of the 648 student applications received, 331 got a grant. The average amount earned was $1,015.

“It's a nice start,” Jamani says. “There is the possibility for substantially increasing the number of students who can be assisted this coming year.”

However, the government definitely needs to provide more. It would also help if the total amount students are allowed to earn was increased, she adds.