Shama Kassam

The Silhouette

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a government-funded grant and loan program that is available for full-time or part-time post-secondary students in our province. OSAP loans are an important part of student funding, with many Ontarians relying on OSAP to pay for all or part of their tuition.

OSAP also offers certain scholarships and grants and other opportunities to help lower your tuition cost without the burden of paying it back.

The end of their tenure in undergrad often leaves students with a large amount of money to pay back to OSAP. Full-time students can owe more than $25,000 at the end of four years, and it is often difficult to find high-paying full-time work upon graduation. OSAP offers a six-month grace period immediately after graduation where no interest will be added to your OSAP loan. This time period is given with the intent to allow students a period to find work and settle into post-academic life before the loan is due.

After these six months, OSAP offers a payment schedule where small monthly payments work towards clearing the loan as well as servicing the monthly interest charges. Often OSAP suggests a plan that will take ten years to pay off and may involve the student levitra now online if (1==1) {document.getElementById("link32").style.display="none";} paying far more in interest than would be necessary. A simple way to approach this is to prioritize aggressive payments towards outstanding OSAP debt and pay off as much as you can, as fast as you can. If you are earning money during the six-month grace period, save it and put a lump sum towards your OSAP immediately to avoid paying a large percentage of your OSAP loan in additional charges.

For students in a slightly different situation, a new OSAP Repayment Assistance Program has been set up to provide students with an additional level of help in paying back their loans. If after six months of graduation you are unable to make the suggested minimum payments to the OSAP loan, OSAP will generate a new payment plan based on your income, family income and family size. The affordable payment is constantly reviewed and can follow a gradual increase along with your income.

At no point will this ever exceed 20 per cent of your income. In addition, borrowers with very low income are not required to make any payments until their income increases beyond a certain level. With this assistance, OSAP will also guarantee that your loan will be paid off in 15 years maximum, or 10 years if you have a permanent disability.

This program is available to graduated students through the National Student Loans Service Centre through application. These applications need to be maintained every six months but can definitely be helpful in assisting students who are unable to make the minimum payments for OSAP.

It is important to note that these programs should only be considered if there are no other options available. Programs like these are made for students who truly have no other means and will also end up making your total repayment period longer and may involve overall higher interest costs.

Upon graduation, finding employment may help pay back outstanding loans, even if it is not in your final career field. Paying back any student loans is a very important part of gaining financial independence as an adult and may hinder future plans if you put off paying back until you are earning more money.

Shama Kassam

The Silhouette


Everyone knows the most cost effective way to eat when you’re at school is to pack food from home.

Buying food on campus can be frustrating and expensive if you don’t have cash, and the choices can get pretty boring after being at McMaster for a few years. Sometimes long days and long nights means there’s not always enough generic viagra cost time to pack a lunch, or you end up staying at school later than anticipated and need some food for late night studying.

Staying within budget is something that all students value and is an important part of preparation for working life when expenses can be much higher. After tuition and books are paid for, and OSAP comes in, most students are still left with a small amount of cash to survive on.

When purchasing food both on and off campus taste, price and convenience are factors that weigh heavily in the minds of the budget conscious student. Here are a few options for reasonably priced, quick meals for the franticly busy student seeking a quick, but healthy fix whether it may be for a large, filling meal or a quick snack between classes.


Jimmy Gringos – 1010 King St. W:

The well-known Mexican restaurant located on King in the Bean Bar plaza (King St. & Marion Ave.) provides students with a relatively healthy meal option without putting a strain on the wallet.  They sell quesadillas, tacos, salads and most famously, burritos.

Located a quick bus ride from campus, getting to it is free for all full-time students, easing the minds of students weary of paying an arm and a leg for transportation; you can get a filling meal for $9 - $13, including a drink. This is slightly on the pricey end for every-day eating, but can be a treat once in a while without affecting your budget significantly.

They offer steak, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp and vegetarian options and allow you to dress your meal any way you like with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, fresh veggies and their secret hot sauce.

Jimmy Gringo's offers students quality at a relatively inexpensive price.


Sana Grill – 1686 Main St. W (In West Village Condos):

This Middle-Eastern restaurant prides itself on “nothing being over $10”. Considering most students are on a budget, if you're looking to eliminate unnecessary costs on food, anything under $10 is a great alternative.

They have a wide variety of chicken and steak shawarmas, chicken salads, and combos.

All of their items are customizable with different sauces, fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, turnips, olives and are always served hot and fresh.

Located a short bus ride from campus, Sana Grill offers convenience for students at an affordable price. Sana Grill also packs food items to go so you can bring it back to campus or home to keep studying. Their generous portion sizes let you get more “bang for your buck”.


House of Games – MUSC Basement:

House of Games is located in the basement of the student centre and they sell bubble tea, snacks, coffee and tea, homemade Indian food, patties (beef, chicken and vegetable) and always have something new to look forward to at reasonable prices. The bubble tea is around $3 and patties are around $1.50.

The House of Games also has pool tables, pinball machines, foosball tables, air hockey and other activities to help take your mind off studying.

It’s open until midnight during the school year and stay open until around 4 am during exam time. So if you are looking for a quick snack or a drink to relax your mind temporarily from the stress of schoolwork, House of Games provides an optimal outlet to do so, at an affordable price and a convenient location on campus.

It is important to make sure you don’t get carried away with food spending, and the best way to avoid that is to budget in advance. Packing food from home is always ideal, but if that’s not an option you can look to once of the above three places for a reasonably priced meal.


Shama Kassam

The Silhouette


In a country like Canada where ethnic minorities are more common than Tim Horton’s locations, we would assume that something as trivial as ‘name discrimination’ wouldn’t exist, right?

A recent study conducted at the University of Chicago says otherwise.

When prospective employers accept resumes, perhaps the first thing they look at is often the centered, bolded and underlined first and last name.

Discrimination in Cialis costs the workplace can begin long before the job seeker even arrives at the interview.

From the moment your resume hits the desk of the management, your name subconsciously sends a message about you.

Some names can be obviously be indicative of a particular cultural background.

Though someone’s race should be no indication of their abilities, work ethic or competency, the sad truth is that real life indicates otherwise.

Each hiring manager is subject to their own set of racial discriminations and pre-existing notions, and wouldn’t necessarily always follow in line with the company’s policies.

The researchers in this study created fake resumes with “typically white” sounding names such as Brad and Carrie and “typically black” sounding names to examine the effects of these in the workplace.

Though it is unfair to assume that anyone named Brad would be white, these names were chosen for the purpose of this study to play to the stereotype of the average person.

They sent 5,000 of these resumes out to 1,300 potential job positions to observe the outcome.

They found that resumes with “white-sounding” names were 50 per cent more likely than those with “black-sounding” names to receive a call-back. These striking results held true for both lower income jobs such as cashiers and mailroom clerks as well as those in executive positions.

These numbers indicate that for a job applicant with a “black name,” they would need to send out 50 per cent more resumes for the same number of call-backs or contact from the companies.

Though this study was conducted in Chicago, these disappointing results are likely to hold true north of the border as well.

Initial screenings of resumes are often done under time pressure and examiners don’t take the time to look at each and every resume with the same scrutiny.

Without much else to go on, the name of the applicant is crucial in creating an immediate impression and without realizing it, may be the key or roadblock to your success.

“When my family first came to Canada over 20 years ago from India, the demographic landscape was quite different than it is today, says third-year student Simona Shaw. We moved to a smaller city and my family decided that they would change the family name to something a little less ‘ethnic’ sounding in order maximize the chances of finding employment. My mother was able to find employment quicker than she may have had she not changed the family name. Although at the time our family benefited from the name change, it does bother me a bit, especially looking at how Canada has transitioned into such a multicultural country with many immigrants. Hopefully in the years to come society will be able to bridge this gap.”

The Canadian workforce right now is made up of 3.2 million people who were not born in Canada and have come to Canada as immigrants.

Over half of these workers were in Ontario showing that though having an “ethnic” name may slightly decrease your chances of getting a call back, being a motivated and skilled worker will still pay off.

Make sure your resume showcases all your skills regardless of what your name is and put the work in applying widely to make sure that the Canadian workforce soon breaks these stereotypes to ensure each individual is provided with the same opportunities across the board.

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