Hey everyone, welcome to our Funding Your Education series, where we answer questions and offer advice on how you can pay for university expenses. As much as your time will be spent on studies and making memories, it's important to make sure all your expenses are in order. But don't worry, you aren't alone in the process—we're here to help!
Today, we will explore the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP):
What is OSAP?
OSAP is a government-run program to help students pay for their education. It is a combination of provincial and federal funding that may be issued to you in the form of grants, loans or a combination of both. If you are eligible for OSAP, it can be paid directly to the school, and if there is anything left over, it will be sent to you.
How do I know if I'm eligible?
Eligibility for OSAP is based on several factors including:
- Canadian citizenship status
- Demonstration of financial need
- Enrolment in an approved program
- Enrolment in a minimum course load
- Residency location and duration
Each application is assessed individually based on their unique circumstances. You can use their online estimator tool to get an idea of what you may receive.
How can I apply?
OSAP applications can be completed online in under 20 minutes! You must have an online account in order to apply. You can register and link your Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) account to help pre-fill some of your personal information, or you can enter it manually.
Once you have registered your account, you can apply for full-time and part-time applications for the upcoming academic year. This will require information such as the program and university you are enrolled in, how many courses you will be taking, what your income (and parents or spouses) was for the previous year, your living expenses and more.
Note: If no one told you, you must apply for OSAP every year—it does not automatically renew.
Will it cover everything?
Since every application is unique, it's hard to know whether or not you will be granted enough funding to cover all of your expenses. Using their estimator tool may help give you an idea of what you may receive, but that is not a guarantee. However, if you learn that it does not cover everything, you can apply for awards, bursaries and scholarships to help cover the remaining portion.
Do I have to pay it back?
As mentioned, there is federal and provincial funding, that can be issued as loans or grants. Loans will need to be paid back, but grants are yours to keep. Everyone receives a different ratio of grant to loan, so this will be determined after your application is assessed. However, you can refuse the loan portion of your funding if you do not wish to have student loans to repay.
When is it due?
OSAP loan portions are due six months after you graduate or leave full-time study. You can negotiate payment plans and extensions of interest-free periods if needed.
Will it disqualify me from scholarships and awards?
No! You can still apply for bursaries, scholarships and awards if you are in need of financial assistance. Your grant-to-loan ratio may be recalculated, but you are able to apply for additional financial support.
Want to learn more about the financial aid available to you at Ontario Tech?