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OSAP: What is the Ontario Student Assistance Program

OSAP

You will rarely come across someone who went through university or college without seeking financial help from the government or a private corporation.

Well, students in Ontario, Canada, get this help through government-approved student loans and grants. That is why they have the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

However, you probably know all that already. So, you want to see whether you’re eligible, how much you can get, how to apply, and how to repay the loan (grants are free).

In that case, kindly read on because this article will tell you everything you need to know about OSAP.

What is the OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)?

As indicated above, OSAP is a program designed to help you for university through a student loan or grant.

The difference between a loan and a grant is that you have to repay a loan, but you don’t repay a grant. Fortunately, you don’t have to fill two forms if you want the panel to consider you for both.

You can apply for financial aid to cover your tuition as well as any other fees charged by your college or university, in addition to books and equipment. If you’re a full-time student or have a child, you can also ask for money for childcare and other personal expenses.

Who can qualify for OSAP?

  • Canadian citizens
  • People with permanent residence in Canada
  • Refugees with valid documents from the Immigration and Refugee Board
  • Humanitarian-protected persons
  • People under protection in Canada whose lives would be in danger if they went back to their countries.

However, you may fall under any of the above categories but still miss the loan or grant because you:

  • Have a lot of money; so, you don’t need financial aid.
  • Failed to repay your students loan before
  • Failed the credit check
  • Declared bankruptcy/consumer proposal/consolidation orders.
  • Did not meet the academic progress requirements
  • Have an overpayment of a grant or bursary
  • Report an income on your application, but it’s different from what you reported to CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)
  • Are an international student
  • You have reached your lifetime limits of student financial aid.

How much will OSAP give me in 2021?

The amount you will get from OSAP will be determined by:

  • Marital status

If you’re single and on a full-time basis, you will receive $545 per week. However, if you’re married, a single parent, or in any other legal relationship, you get a maximum of $830 per week. Further,

  • Part-time students receive a maximum loan of $10,000 per year.
  • Canadian students living with disability quality for a grant of $4000 per academic year
  • Canada part-time students’ grant is $3600 a year unless you have dependents, in which case you get $3840. Ontario part-time student gets $500.
  • Those in micro-credential programs receive $5000 per study period to cover tuition, books, equipment, and other fees. They can also get $5 per study hour.
  • If you have money in your RESP, it won’t affect how much you can receive from OSAP.

Can I get OSAP if I work?

Yes, you can, but only if you show that your salary cannot cover your education expenses. However, the Ontario government will ask you to contribute $3600 to your schooling unless you have a child or are disabled.

How to apply for OSAP             

You will apply online here.

  • First, you will create an OSAP account. You will need your SIN (Social Insurance Number) and tax information to do that. Some students are asked to give their parents’ or spouse’s SIN and tax info.
  • Second, you will get an OSAP access number and password. Kindly keep the two safely for you will need them to log in.
  • Once you log in, you will provide details about your school and program. If you don’t know which school you will go to, submit an OSAP form for each school you applied to.
  • Note that you can leave your form pending and come to complete it later, provided you submit it before the deadline.
  • After you submit your application, you will receive the estimated amount you might get. You might qualify for more if you have a permanent disability, are an indigenous student, or a current or former Crown Ward.
  • You will receive any update on your application in your OSAP account. That takes 3-6 weeks.

Can a student only take the grant?

Yes. OSAP allows you to pick the grant and leave the loan. Nevertheless, if you change your mind, you can request the loan not later than 40 days to the end of your study period.

What income information should I provide in OSAP?

If you go to work, you need to contribute a portion ($1800 per term, $3600 per year) towards your academics and then the OSAP will top up.

Kindly note that you’re exempted from disclosure if you:

  • Are married with dependents
  • You are the sole support parent
  • Identify as indigenous, are in extended society care or the care of Ontario Children’s Aid Society.
  • Or your spouse is living with a permanent disability

Repaying OSAP

It would help if you started repaying your OSAP loan 6 months after you graduate or your full-time study program ends. You will make your payments to National Students’ Loans Service Center; (click on this link and open an account)

Six months after graduation, NSLSC will send you a package indicating the date of your first installment, the total number of installments, and the interest used to calculate the payment.

However, if your school can confirm that you will be going back for another program, you don’t need to start paying right away. You can also extend your grace period if you work with a non-profit organization or start/co-own a new business in Ontario.

Conclusion

Paying for your college or university education can be challenging, especially if you have other responsibilities. Fortunately, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)assists thousands of students like you every year. The loan is cheap, and the grant is free. You can also apply for the aid to do your Masters or PhD.


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