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Northern colleges welcome COVID-19 student aid funds

Province announced $25 million to help continue education online
Canadore College
Canadore College in North Bay is among the province's postsecondary institutions to benefit from a $25-million relief package to help students complete their learning. (File photo)

Postsecondary institutions in the North are welcoming emergency provincial funding of $25 million to help students complete their studies for the 2020 year.

Premier Doug Ford announced the relief on March 31, along with the deferral of payments on loans through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), interest-free, for six months, and the introduction of more online learning tools.

“During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments," Ford said in a news release.

"Our government is doing everything it can to ensure our college and university students can take their exams and complete their school year while studying remotely.”

In Sault Ste. Marie, Ron Common called the $556,000 allotted to Sault College a “great investment” in students.

“Our college has come together during the face of adversity to support our students and ensure they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Common, president of Sault College, in a news release.

“We are grateful to the Honourable Ross Romano (minister of colleges and universities) and our government partner for their commitment to our students, for seeing the importance of supporting the postsecondary sector during this time, and for making an investment to promote continued success.”The school said it had implemented alternate measures to deliver programs remotely, including online learning.

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In North Bay, Canadore College is the recipient of $684,487, which president George Burton said would go toward providing online instruction to students.

“Canadore staff continue working hard to support our students and community during a very difficult time,” Burton said in a release.

“The funding announced today will enable Canadore to continue with online supports for students and will help ensure the resources are in place to support their success.”

Postsecondary institutions were excluded from a list of essential services released by the Ontario government and directed to close on March 23.

In Northern Ontario, that directive impacts students and faculty at six colleges and four universities, in addition to several affiliate and satellite campuses.