Ontario Student Assistance Program

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Osap english colour logo.jpg

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) (French: Régime d'aide financière aux étudiantes et étudiants de l'Ontario (RAFEO)) is financial aid to help Ontario students pay for their postsecondary education. When a student applies for OSAP, they are considered for a combination of:

  • grants (money they don’t have to pay back)
  • loans (money they need to repay)

After a student submits an application, OSAP determines the mix of grant and loan money a student can receive. More than 380,000 students – more than half of all full-time students –received student financial aid in 2014-15.

In 2017, the Province of Ontario is moving forward with the single largest modernization of OSAP in its history to ensure student financial aid is more transparent and targeted to those with the greatest financial need.

Changes to OSAP starting in 2017-18[edit]

  • Eligible students whose parents earn $50,000 or less in annual income will receive enough OSAP grants to cover average tuition.
  • 50 per cent of students from families with incomes of $83,300 or less will get non-repayable grants that more than cover the average cost of tuition.
  • No eligible student will receive less aid than they are eligible for now under the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant
  • Weekly loan limits will increase for all students and continue to be indexed annually to inflation.

Changes to OSAP starting in 2018-19[edit]

  • Middle- and upper-income families will have improved access to subsidized loans.
  • The amount parents are expected to contribute towards the cost of their child’s postsecondary education will be reduced.
  • A new billing system will be implemented for public colleges and universities that takes into account government and institutional grants for students. Students’ tuition bills will reflect their out-of-pocket costs. This will make it easier for students and their families to understand what the true cost of tuition is – for tens of thousands of students, they will owe $0 towards their tuition.

Amount of financial aid students may receive[edit]

When students apply for OSAP, it is determined how much they’ll receive by comparing their tuition fees and living expenses with the amount the student and their family are expected to pay.

Free tuition for eligible students[edit]

Starting in 2017, OSAP will give Ontario students enough grants to cover the average cost of tuition if:

  • their parents earn $50,000 or less per year
  • they’re going to study full-time
  • they’re attending a publicly assisted college or university, and
  • they meet the eligibility requirements for OSAP

Many students from middle-income families will receive grants that exceed the value of their tuition.

Some students who meet these requirements may not get free tuition, including students who:

  • have enough money to cover their tuition (e.g. savings, RESPs or scholarships)
  • have already received their lifetime limit for the Ontario Tuition Grant

Parental contributions[edit]

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.


Both full- and part-time students can apply for OSAP.

To qualify for assistance, an applicant must be:

  • attending (or planning to attend) an approved program at a postsecondary institution that has been approved for OSAP purposes
  • enrolled in a program that is 12 weeks or longer which leads directly to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person, and
  • an Ontario resident (e.g. Ontario is the last Canadian province in which you resided for 12 consecutive months without being a full-time postsecondary student)

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.

New Canadians[edit]

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 from which they would be eligible to receive student aid.

Mature students[edit]

Students who finished high school four or more years ago can qualify for more grants to go back to school.

Registering and applying for OSAP[edit]

In order to apply for funding consideration from OSAP, students must first register as a new user online at ontario.ca/osap

Applications for OSAP for the 2017-18 schnjool year are available in spring 2017.

Students can get ready now by registering with OSAP. They’ll create their OSAP profile and get an OSAP Access Number (OAN). When the application opens in spring 2017, students will get a message from OSAP that it’s time to apply.

Notice to 2016-17 OSAP applicants[edit]

If applying for OSAP for the 2016-17 academic year, please visit ontario.ca/osap for more information.

Ontario Student Access Guarantee[edit]

If OSAP doesn’t cover all of the expenses that directly relate to a student’s program (books, tuition, mandatory fees), and they still need money, public colleges and universities in Ontario have to provide financial help.

This money could include:

  • bursaries
  • scholarships
  • work study programs
  • summer employment programs

Financial Aid Offices[edit]

Students should visit the Financial Aid Office (FAO) at the college or university they plan to attend for more information about OSAP, the Ontario Student Access Guarantee and other financial aid questions. Students can find a list of FAOs at Ontario’s public colleges and universities online.

Exceptional circumstances[edit]

The OSAP assessment may not reflect exceptional circumstances some students may have. As a result, a number of reviews have been developed to allow students to provide additional information regarding their specific circumstances. To learn more about the review process or to initiate a review, students can contact their school’s financial aid office.

When you need to repay[edit]

For the first 6 months after graduation, finishing studies, or no longer being a full-time college or university student:

  • you don’t need to make any loan payments
  • no interest is charged on the Ontario portion of your student loan
  • interest is charged on the Canada portion of your student loan

This is a 6 month grace period.

Recipients of OSAP can expect to start repaying their loan at the end of the 7th month after they leave school.

Grace Period Extensions[edit]

If a student has recently completed their studies, they can apply to have their grace period extended for an additional six months through one of these two programs:

One-Year OSAP Grace Period for Entrepreneurs: for the owner or joint owner of an eligible new business located in Ontario.

One-Year OSAP Grace Period for Not-for Profit Employees: for borrowers working at an eligible not-for-profit organization in Ontario.

How to repay OSAP loans[edit]

Within 6 months of leaving school, OSAP recipients will get a package in the mail from the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) that tells them:

  • how much they owe
  • their expected monthly payment
  • the total number of payments they will need to make
  • the date of their first payment
  • the interest rate

Monthly loan payments are made to the National Student Loans Service Centre.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]