Survey finds students confused about current OSAP system

A survey of post-secondary students regarding the perception and knowledge of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) found that about a third of students are confused about how OSAP works. The survey found many students didn’t know about the repayment plan for OSAP or thought it didn’t apply to them. Students were also confused about how long the repayment grace period is for OSAP after graduation, which is six months. Cassandra Cao, a senior researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) think tank, conducted the story as part of the organization’s “ongoing research on student financial barriers” in post-secondary education. “This study was specifically designed to support work we are doing on evaluating the imminent reforms to […]

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MacEwan students permitted to change gender, name in university system

Students at MacEwan University are now permitted to change their name and gender through the university’s record-keeping system. The change was made to suit students with gender pronouns and names to match their current identity rather than the identity listed on birth certificates, according to a statement from the school. The move will help “empower” people to define their identity, the statement said. Michelle Plouffe, vice-president (general counsel) of MacEwan, said in the statement that the change, which took effect on Feb. 27, is intended to “bring the university to a place of greater inclusion.” MacEwan students can also update their gender identity to either male, female, or gender minority. “It came about as part of some initiatives we’re working […]

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Universities promoting courses in lesser-known languages

As the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, learning a second language can seem practical for many looking to get ahead and take advantage of unique opportunities. While statistics from the British Council place Mandarin and Spanish as the most commonly spoken languages worldwide, many Canadian universities have taken to offering and promoting classes in an increasing number of lesser-known languages. The University of Toronto (U of T) began offering a course to students in January on the dead Ethiopian language of Ge’ez. The language course is the first step towards the university’s future Ethiopian studies program. According to the Varsity, the program has received over $100,000 in donations from community members to aid in its creation. Robert Holmstedt, professor of […]

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‘Self-compassion’ helps students deal with stress: Study

A new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) found that self-compassion in first-year students helps reduce stress and improve motivation. The study took place over a five-month timespan and surveyed 189 first-year UBC students, analyzing if an increase in self-empathy would prompt a change in mental and physiological fulfillment. The study defines self-compassion as “self-kindness,” which involves not being “overly critical of oneself . . . recognizing failure is universal . . . and mindfulness, which means being present and calm in the moment.” UBC kinesiology professor Peter Crocker, the study’s co-author, previously found that female athletes who reported elevated amounts of self-compassion felt lower levels of self-criticism and negative thoughts, according to a release from the school. […]

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