York launches programs to financially support students

York University is introducing a number of measures to financially assist students in dealing with the newly-extended school year, which presents serious challenges for students both to complete their current year and to prepare for next year’s studies. 

“As the winter term will now end in early June, we anticipate that many students will face serious financial hardship in May and in the following academic year, as their summer employment time will be limited,” said Robert Tiffin, York’s vice-president of students. “Unfortunately, this challenge comes at a time when many are already feeling the harmful effects of an economic downturn. Bursaries and awards are more important than ever.”

York University will address the immediate needs of these students by raising $5 million through the creation of a special 50th Anniversary Bursaries and Awards program. Gifts donated to this program will be expendable, not endowed, to ensure the funds can be used as early as May 2009 and for Fall 2009.  These awards will help students complete their academic year now and plan their budgets for next fall. A number of other measures are also underway to assist students:

  • The York University community will assist students with an extension of housing in residence to the end of the academic year, with no additional cost for accommodation.
  • York faculty have established the York University Undergraduate Student Hardship Fund.  Each student will be assessed on the basis of his or her individual circumstances. 
  • The University has also extended to students the ability to transfer tuition fee credits paid this year for dropped courses toward the cost of enrolling in courses next year. See further details below.

“We appreciate the support of the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in this swift and coordinated effort to ensure that qualified students do not face economic barriers to an education, and that those students who excel academically are rewarded,” said Tiffin.

The government of Ontario has also announced $6 million in extra financial help to Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) recipients affected by the strike. The government will extend payments to students receiving aid through OSAP to cover their additional expenses for the longer study period. OSAP funding will be extended to June 2, 2009, the end of York’s winter exam period.

For students in a typical two-term study period, the first $7,000 of their OSAP support for the academic year is provided as a repayable loan.  Any assistance above $7,000 is provided as a non-repayable Ontario Student Opportunity Grant.

About 13,000 York students are expected to benefit from this OSAP extension.  About 5,300 of these students will not be required to repay this assistance, as they will qualify for an Ontario Student Opportunity Grant.

The federal government will also be making additional student loan funding available to eligible students. The federal funding will be available through integrated Canada-Ontario Student Loans and will help students affected by the strike to cover costs associated with the extension of the school year. This funding will be in addition to funding that may be available from the Government of Ontario.

The federal Department of Human Resources and Skills Development said it expects to give out between $6 million and $7 million more in Canada Student Loans to help York students finish out their school year.

See more information at York’s Student Financial Services site.

Details of tuition fee credit

This message has been sent to York students:

In response to requests from students for greater flexibility in the way that courses may be completed following the strike, and during the current economic instability, the University is offering students the ability to drop Fall term and full year courses and transfer their tuition fees paid to the 2009/2010 academic year. Students may drop a Fall term course (term "F") or a full year (term "Y") course and may apply the tuition fees to courses taught in Winter 2009, Summer 2009 or Fall/Winter 2009/2010.

This arrangement will be available only up until April 30, 2010. Tuition fees may be applied on students’ accounts towards next year’s fees.

Tuition fees of all courses to be taken under the F and Y course tuition credit option must be paid by March 1, 2009 to take advantage of this option.

Students wishing to withdraw from an F term course must apply for this option by March 10, 2009. Students wishing to withdraw from a Y term course must apply by April 3, 2009. The completed application form should be directed to Ms Joanne Duklas, University Registrar, via fax at 416-736-5444 or through the Registrarial Services drop box in the Bennett Centre for Student Services.

Students on OSAP should speak with an adviser in Student Client Services in the Bennett Centre prior to dropping courses in order to ensure taking up this option will not affect their current status or put them into an overpayment status.

The application and further information regarding this opportunity will be posted at www.yorku.ca/backtoclass by the end of this week.