Ontario Student Assistance Program
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (December 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) (French: Régime d'aide financière aux étudiantes et étudiants de l'Ontario (RAFEO)) is a financial aid program delivered by the governments of Ontario and Canada for post-secondary education students. OSAP provides eligible Ontario students with financial assistance to help pay for their tuition, books, mandatory fees, living costs and transportation.
The program is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and includes repayable loans, non-repayable grants, bursaries and scholarships.
To qualify for assistance, an applicant must:
- be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person;
- be an Ontario resident (e.g. you have lived in Ontario for at least 12 consecutive months without being a full-time postsecondary student);
- be attending an approved program toward a degree, diploma or certificate at a postsecondary institution that has been approved for OSAP purposes;
- be enrolled in a program that is 12 weeks or longer;
- be enrolled full-time in postsecondary studies, taking 60% or more of a full course load as defined by your institution (or 40% or more if you're a student with a disability); and
- not be restricted or have any previous OSAP loans in default.
Applicants who have not lived in Ontario for at least 12 consecutive months may still be considered Ontario residents if their parent(s) or spouse resided in Ontario for at least 12 consecutive months.
For new Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons who have resided in Canada for less than 12 months, a residency review is available to determine the province of which they would be eligible to receive student aid. To begin the review, OSAP applicants must complete and submit one of the following forms to explain their history of residency in Canada
- History of Canadian Residency for Student
- History of Canadian Residency for Student and Parents
- History of Canadian Residency for Student and Spouse
Financial Need Assessment
When students apply for OSAP, the amount of assistance students are eligible to receive during the academic year is calculated based on the student’s specific educational and financial circumstances. A fact-based assessment of need is made on the basis of costs against expected resources. Costs include the tuition and compulsory fees charged by the educational institution, a books/equipment/computer allowance, a personal and living allowance, local transportation costs, and child care. Expected resources include contributions from earned income, assets, academic awards and bursaries, government income and other sources of income as well as expected contributions from parents or spouses, if applicable. They only provide you with enough money for the term.
The OSAP Aid Estimator can provide you with an estimate of the amount of loan and grant assistance you may be eligible to receive.
Students within four years of having graduated high school are usually considered dependents, and will automatically have a parental contribution factored into their OSAP needs based assessment. Students who have been out of secondary school for more than four years will not have a parental contribution factored into their assessment.
Study Period Earnings
Students are provided a study period earnings exemption of $111 per week of study, equivalent to $3,774 over the average 34 week academic year. Study period earnings are defined as the cumulative amount of all employment earnings, grants, bursaries, scholarships and other monetary awards received during the student’s full-time study period. If a student’s earnings during the study period exceed this amount, the amount above the exemption is considered as income in the financial need assessment, and may therefore reduce their OSAP entitlement.
Educational Assistance Payments from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is first considered as the parental contribution as calculated in the OSAP needs based assessment. Any amount above the assessed parental contribution will then be considered as the student’s study period earnings. For example, a student assessed with a parental contribution of $2,000 would be able to receive an RESP payment totaling $5,774 over a 34-week period, without affecting their OSAP assessment (provided they did not have any additional study period income).
If a student is assessed as having sufficient financial need, they will receive a Canada Student Loan and an Ontario Student Loan, with an assessment for additional grant eligibility. Loan repayment begins 6 months after the student ceases to be a full-time student.
Grants from the Government of Ontario
The 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant provides a maximum of $1,730 per year for degree programs and $790 for diploma or certificate programs. To be eligible for the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant a student must have finished high school less than four years before the start of their current school year (or less than six years for students with a permanent disability), and have parents’ whose combined total income is $160,000 a year or less.
OSOG reduces students’ Canada and Ontario student loan debt on an annual basis. The OSOG payment is applied directly to the Ontario portion of the Canada – Ontario Integrated Student Loan principal after a student has completed his/her academic year and all income reported to OSAP has been verified with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
As of the 2012 academic year, students who have completed a two-term academic year (up to 40 weeks) and have student loans for that year which exceed $7,300 are eligible to receive a grant for the loan amount above $7,300. For students completing a three-term academic year (between 41–52 weeks) who have student loans for that year which exceed $10,950, a grant can be received for the amount above $10,950. Students completing a single term or who withdrawal from studies are ineligible for OSOG.
- The Ontario Access Grants is a grant which covers between 25% and 50% of student tuition, to a maximum of $3,000; and assists first and second-year students from low and moderate-income families.
- Ontario Distance Grants (Travel/Commuting)
The Ontario government offers Distance Grants for Travel and Commuting to assist students from remote and rural areas with their travel costs.
Support for Crown Wards
- Current or former Crown wards who attend full-time studies at participating institutions may also be eligible for 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care.
- The Living and Learning Grant offers $500 per month of study to Students enrolled in full-time postsecondary studies aged 21 to 24 who were previously eligible for the Continued Care and Support for Youth allowance (or Extended Care and Maintenance allowance) from their Children’s Aid Society.
- For current and former Crown wards in programs of two or more years in length, the Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards will cover 50 percent of tuition, to a maximum of $3,000 for up to four years of a program.
Canada Student Grants
Students from low-income families who qualify for a federal student loan and meet the specific grant eligibility requirements will receive $250 per month of study. This grant is available for all years of an eligible university undergraduate, college, or trade school program.
Students from middle-income families who qualify for a federal student loan and meet the specific grant eligibility requirements will receive $100 per month of study. This grant is available for all years of an eligible university undergraduate, college or trade school program. (Please note that the eligibility thresholds for the low- and middle-income grants will be adjusted to reflect the cost of living in each province and territory for different family sizes).
Under this grant, students with permanent disabilities may receive $2,000 per academic year to help cover the costs of accommodation, tuition, and books.
Under this grant, students with permanent disabilities who have exceptional education-related costs such as tutors, note-takers, interpreters, braillers or technical aids may receive up to $8,000 for services and equipment per academic year.
Under this grant, low-income students with children may receive $200 in grant assistance per month of study for each child under 12 years of age.
The maximum amount of assistance available for students is $360 per week for single students, and $560 per week for married students and students with children.
Students who wish to study out-of-country are not eligible for funding from the Ontario government, but may be eligible for financial assistance from the federal government. The maximum assistance for students choosing to study outside of Canada is $210 per week of study.
Students may collect student loans during his or her lifetime for a period equal to or no greater than 340 weeks for an individual who is enrolled in a program of study other than a doctoral program, or 400 weeks for an individual enrolled in a doctoral program.
Students who stay enrolled in full-time studies at an OSAP designated institution, while not collecting OSAP loans, must submit a Continuation of Interest-Free Status/Confirmation of Enrolment (Schedule 2) form in order to have their loans remain in interest free status. Interest free status is when the student is not required to make monthly payments on the principle loan balance.
Applying for OSAP
The OSAP application is made available online usually around April of each year, and is for the upcoming academic year which begins the following August or September. Students can still apply for OSAP loans up to 60 days prior to the end of their study period, however, OSAP funding is reduced for applications received more than 45 days after studies begin; and OSAP funding cannot be issued to students after the end of a study period.
Students can apply for OSAP online by clicking here.
Missing Parental Information
Some students experience unique circumstances which cannot be explained on the online application, such as an evaluation of students who have experienced a severe rift/estrangement in their relationship with their parents.
Students who cannot provide the parental information required for the online application should visit the financial aid office of their postsecondary institution to discuss a review.
OSAP Express is a streamlined application process which was introduced in September 2012, which:
- requires a student to sign a loan agreement only once throughout their entire postsecondary studies;
- speeds up the enrolment verification process and direct deposit options; and
- means no more lining up multiple times per semester of every year at financial aid offices to sign loan documents.
Master Student Financial Aid Agreement (MSFAA)
The MSFAA is a multi-year loan agreement, which lays out students’ responsibilities and the terms and conditions of accepting and repaying student loans. It consists of two contracts: one between the borrower and the Government of Canada, and one between the borrower and the Government of Ontario. Students won't have to sign a new loan agreement the next time they apply for OSAP (unless they take a two-year break in study or establish residency in another province/territory).
After you submit your online OSAP Application for Full-Time Students, you can print your MSFAA. If you applied for OSAP using a paper application, your MSFAA will be mailed to you. Read the terms and conditions, then complete and sign your MSFAA.
Take page 1 of your MSFAA to a Canada Post outlet. You must present the following two pieces of documentation to prove your identity:
Proof of your Social Insurance Number (SIN):
- Your Social Insurance card or,
- An official Government of Canada document that contains your Social Insurance Number (e.g., a Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment, a Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions, or a Confirmation of Social Insurance Number from Service Canada).
One piece of valid photo ID issued in Canada by the federal, provincial or territorial government.
- Examples of acceptable ID: Canadian passport, permanent resident or citizenship card, Ontario photo card, valid driver's licence or provincial health card with photo. Student ID cards are not acceptable forms of photo ID.
Note for Students Studying Outside of Canada:
If you can’t go to a designated Canada Post outlet because you’re not in Canada, in a remote area, or don’t have a designated Canada Post outlet nearby, you can mail page 1 of your MSFAA and photocopies of two pieces of documentation to prove your identity (see list of acceptable documentation above) to:
National Student Loans Service Centre, PO Box 4030, Mississauga, ON L5A 4M4.
OSAP mobile is a mobile app for your smartphone which has been developed so that students may have access to their OSAP account anywhere and at any time.
OSAP Mobile allows students access to:
- Log In / Log Out of their account
- Applications on File
- Application Summary
- Next Steps – things to review and things to do
- Required Documents – lists all required supporting documentation
- Funding Summary – lists total amount, released to date amount and to be released amount as well as details on funding to be released (details about funding released to date are not provided)
Studying Outside of Ontario
Ontario residents wishing to study outside of Ontario or Canada may only receive OSAP loan funding if they are attending an OSAP designated institution. Check to see if your school is approved.
Students planning to attend an institution located outside of Ontario, but within Canada, must submit a Program Approval Application form to OSAP to request that the program be approved. If students plan to attend any institution which has not been approved they must submit a completed Institution and Program Approval Application form to OSAP to request the institution and program be approved.
For the first six months immediately after a student completes their full-time studies, they are not required to make any loan payments. However, interest accrues on the Canada portion of the Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan. The Government of Ontario pays the interest on the Ontario portion on the student’s behalf. At the end of the six months, student loan borrowers consolidate their loans with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
Before the six months expires, the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) will send borrowers a repayment package with their consolidation agreement. This agreement will explain repayment terms including monthly payments and loan debt information.
Currently, interest is calculated either at a floating interest rate of prime plus 2.5% for the Canada portion of your loan and prime plus 1.0% for the Ontario portion of your loan, or at a fixed rate of prime plus 5% (available only on the Canada portion of your Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan).
The National Student Loan Service Center (NSLSC) administers student loans on behalf of the governments of Canada and Ontario. The NSLSC can be contacted at 1-888-815-4514.
Please visit the Repayment Calculator for more information.
For students who experience financial difficulties meeting their repayment obligations, there are debt management programs available in the form of the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) and the Revision of Terms (ROT).
Borrowers are eligible for assistance through the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), designed for borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulty. The Plan helps borrowers fully repay their debt within a maximum of fifteen years (or within ten years for borrowers with permanent disabilities) by ensuring that the monthly payments are never more than 20 percent of their family income. If income is below a minimum threshold, borrowers are not required to make any payments towards repayment of their loans until their income increases. For borrowers to be eligible for RAP loans must be in good standing; and borrowers can only be approved for RAP for periods of six months.
Another program available to borrowers to help make their monthly payments more affordable is Revision of Terms (ROT). By revising the repayment period from 9½ to 14½ years, borrowers can reduce their student loan payment by about 20%.
As a component of the OSAP Application for Part-Time Students, the Part-Time Canada Student Loan provides loan aid to students studying on a part-time basis. Part-time students are defined as being enrolled in 20%-59% of a full-time course load. The application considers students for:
- Part-Time Canada Student Loan Program,
- Canada Student Grants for Persons with Permanent Disabilities,
- Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Students with Dependants, and
- Ontario Part-Time Grant.
The maximum amount of Part-Time Canada Student Loan which can be outstanding at any one time is $10,000. The maximum weekly amount of part-time funding is $210 per week of study, in loans and/or grants.