The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a program that provides money to help you pay for your post-secondary education costs. The program aims to make higher education more affordable by giving students access to loans and grants. Students are required to complete the application process every year they apply for funding. For more information about financial aid, check out our complete guide below!
What is OSAP?
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a student loan program that helps students pay for their post-secondary education. It is a provincial program, which means it’s administered by the government of Ontario and has been around since 1967.
OSAP payments are made directly to school or lender accounts for eligible students under an agreement between the institution and OSAP. Students are responsible for repaying their loans when their annual income exceeds $25,000.
How to Apply.
- You can apply online by visiting the Ontario government’s website and clicking on the link to OSAP.
- You can also apply in person at a Service Ontario location.
- If you choose to mail in your application, include all the documentation in this article.
When to apply
Applying for OSAP as early as possible is critical. You’ll want to use it before the end of your academic year or even before the end of the month if you can. While there are deadlines for each semester, you can only be awarded funding during that semester if you meet all deadlines up until then.
If you don’t know when your university’s academic year starts and ends, ask someone in administration or check their website (it should be listed somewhere). If your school doesn’t have a calendar on its site, try Googling “academic calendars” plus a place name like “University of Toronto calendar” or “Columbia College Chicago calendar.”
The OSAP application deadlines are different for each program. The deadlines are also other for each school, which may or may not have a deadline you need to meet. Keep in mind that the OSAP application deadline is the date by which you must submit your application.
This is not the same as when your financial aid will be processed and awarded (after being accepted into a program and paying your first tuition instalment). If you miss an OSAP deadline, don’t worry—the ministry will still consider your application if submitted before June 30th of the following year.
What to bring to the application
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Student ID
- Birth certificate
- Bank statements
- Proof of income (W-2, T4, etc.)
- Tax return or Notice of Assessment from the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency)
- You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- You must have lived in Ontario for at least 12 months before the start of your studies
- You must be enrolled in a full-time degree or diploma program at an approved institution
- You must be taking a minimum of 60% of the course load
What happens after you submit your student financial aid application?
Once you submit your OSAP application, it will be processed by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). If you are eligible for OSAP funding, MTCU will send an update to your school confirming that your loan has been approved and how much money is available from the provincial or territorial governments.
Suppose you have been approved for OSAP funding, but it’s insufficient to cover your tuition fees. In that case, MTCU will send a letter to your school telling them what aid was awarded and how much of the remaining balance has been covered by other forms of financial assistance, such as scholarships or bursaries.
You may also receive an email from Student Financial Assistance Programs (SFP) at Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) with information about how much financial aid has been awarded based on their calculations using the data you provided in Step 2 above.
What is an NSLSC account number?
The NSLSC account number is a unique identifier that you use to access your student loan account. The number is used to track your student loan from the day you apply for financial aid until the day you graduate, so it’s essential to keep track of this information.
- Your financial situation may qualify if you are a single parent or have dependents who will live with you while you study.
- If you have a disability or health condition that prevents you from working part-time or full-time, OSAP will consider this when calculating your aid eligibility.
- International students may be eligible for OSAP if they meet the same criteria as domestic students (“Canadian” students). However, due to the high cost of tuition at Canadian colleges and universities compared to other countries’ institutions—and because OSAP is not intended to provide funding for international travel—international applicants will likely not qualify for total financing of OSAP. Students should plan carefully before applying so that their costs can be minimized through careful planning and budgeting; this includes taking advantage of any available scholarships from their home country and seeking out opportunities here in Canada where possible (such as working on campus).
What is the difference between the My Account and ‘My OSAP portals?
The My Account portal is a secure site where you can check your OSAP status, update your personal information, and view your financial aid history. Though it’s not mandatory to use this portal to apply for OSAP, it is highly recommended that you do so because the information you will provide here will be used by a financial aid officer when assessing student loans and grants. If you are already approved for OSAP, then this portal will allow you to check what types of payments have been made (see below) and when these repayments are due.
Suppose any change in your circumstances (for example, a change of address or income). Students should update their information through this My Account portal because those changes could affect their eligibility for future funding between academic sessions.
I am a dependent student; what financial documents must I submit?
If you are a dependent student, you will need to submit the following:
- OSAP application form (the one you filled out when you applied for OSAP)
- OSAP assessment letter
- OSAP eligibility letter (if applicable)
- Parental contribution statement (if applicable)
The following documents can be submitted electronically with the online application:
- Tax return documents – T2202A tax form, T1219 tax form summary, T4288 provincial/territorial assessment summary and other supporting information if applicable.
If your dependence status changes after applying for financial aid and there is no change in family income or assets, no further documentation is required. However, if there is a change in family income or help, it may affect your aid eligibility; hence, please send us the appropriate documentation listed above, along with the updated version of each form that has been changed since initially submitting them.
If there are any changes in circumstances related to dependents other than yourself, please also provide this information and evidence of those changes along with any relevant supporting documentation such as birth certificates/marriage licenses, etcetera showing proof of relationship between parents/guardians and dependents.
I am an independent student; what financial documents must I submit?
To apply for financial aid as an independent student, you will need to submit the following documents:
- a copy of your most recent tax return
- a copy of your most recent Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency
- a copy of your most recent T4 or T4A slip
What if my parent’s marital status changed after the date of my OSAP application submission?
If your parent’s marital status has changed after your OSAP application submission date, you must notify the NSLSC. You will need to submit a copy of either:
- The divorce papers or marriage certificate, if applicable
- A new birth certificate for yourself and any dependents
There is an error on my OSAP Application for Full-Time Students. How can I correct it?
Errors are expected in OSAP applications. If you have one, don’t worry; it’s easy to correct.
To correct an error, you’ll need to:
- Please fill out your application again and send it in with a cover letter explaining the error and asking us to review it. Ensure your new application is dated at least two months before your previous submission date.
- Complete all required documents (if applicable) and sign them with a witness (if applicable). Mail or email them to the Ontario Student Assistance Program in Toronto along with an explanation of why we should consider accepting this new application rather than rejecting it for being late or invalidating some parts of your previous submission because they don’t match up anymore due to changes made after submitting earlier on such things as income tax returns filed later.*
There is an error on my Student Financial Profile (SFP). How do I correct it?
If you find an error, contact OSAP. They will review the request and let you know what needs to be done to correct it. If they tell you a mistake on your SFP and that item has been removed from eligibility, you’d need to speak with them about what happened and how they can help fix the problem.
Do I need to submit my tax return document for my OSAP assessment to be completed?
You must submit your tax return documents if you are a dependent student whose parents have not yet filed their taxes. The same applies to dependent students living with their parents without financial support.
However, if you are an independent student, OSAP does not need to see your tax returns to assess your eligibility. However, if you want help filling out the forms or have questions about how this might affect how much money they give out in terms of grants and loans (or if it affects anything else), we recommend hiring someone who works specifically with this kind of thing: an accountant or financial adviser (who can probably also help figure out whether or not it’s worth filing later).
How much OSAP funding will I receive based on a parental contribution of $1,500, $3,000 or $6,000?
The amount of financial aid you’re eligible for depends on your parental income. The higher the payment, the less money you will receive. You won’t be eligible for OSAP funding if your parents make over $150,000 annually.
The chart below shows how much OSAP funding you’ll receive based on a parental contribution of $1,500, $3,000 or $6,000:
- Parental Contribution: $1,500
- Percentage of Family Income Eligible For OSAP Funding: 100%
- OSAP Grant Amounts: Up to 100% of tuition costs + mandatory fees + books & supplies; up to 150% at UTM/UTSC (for students residing outside Toronto); up to 200% in science and applied for health programs at UofT Mississauga campus only
Remember these things when applying for financial aid
As you use it, keep these things in mind:
- Make sure to submit your application on time. The Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) must receive the application by March 1st. However, suppose you are applying to OSAP for a first-year fall term program or a January start program in engineering or architecture where no fall term option is available. In that case, the deadline is April 30th instead of March 1st. You can also use extra time if you are applying for more than one program at the same university or college at once by using the single application service offered by OUAC; this will allow extra time between applications if needed and will count as one application towards your maximum four-year limit of OSAP funding eligibility.
- Make sure to submit all required documents when applying for financial aid through OSAP – even if it’s after the deadline has passed! If something isn’t included with your application, it cannot be considered when determining whether or not you qualify for funding through OSAP; this consists of proof of citizenship status and additional medical information that may affect your eligibility status (if applicable).
The Liberal government is changing the system many students have complained about for years. Check out their website for up-to-date information on the program.
OSAP is a government program providing financial aid to Ontario post-secondary students. It is administered by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).
Students enrolled in full-time studies at an approved college or university in Ontario may be eligible for OSAP. Full-time study is any course load requiring you to be registered for more than 60% of your regular course load (8 credits) per term.
If your schedule includes more than one term, the total number of credits overall times will be used to determine if you are eligible for OSAP funding. Your status as a full-time student will be monitored throughout the year by MTCU staff through various means, including but not limited to: checking registration records, following up on requests for information regarding your attendance level at school and monitoring social media posts made by students regarding their status as full-time students in Ontario.
We hope this guide has answered any questions about applying for OSAP. If not, several other resources are available to help you navigate the application process. The Ontario government has created a website dedicated to assisting students in understanding their options when it comes time for them to apply for financial aid – so if that’s not enough information for you!