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Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

You’ve got to be living under a rock if you are a student in Ontario and have never heard of OSAP before. Ontario Student Assistance Program, abbreviated as OSAP, is an important means of student financial aid for Ontarians pursuing post-secondary education. The provincial government of Ontario offers OSAP to students with financial needs to pay for school or college.

If you reside in the economic hub of Canada, then OSAP might just be the helping hand you need to fulfill your career ambitions through the means of post-secondary education. Let’s delve deep into OSAP and understand how it can financially aid your education.  

What is OSAP?

As mentioned earlier, Ontario Student Assistance Program is a student aid scheme rolled out by the Ontario provincial government to support the post-secondary education of students residing in Ontario with a need for financial assistance. It offers a combination of both loans and grants depending on the assessed monetary requirements of the student. While assistance offered as grants does not have to be repaid, funding received through loans needs to be repaid post-graduation or completion of the course. 

OSAP can be availed to pay for tuition fees, books, equipment and other essential education services, additional college fees, cost of living, and welfare of dependents (child care).   

Who is eligible for OSAP?

While it is clear that OSAP provides provincial student aid to only those living in Ontario, there are other major eligibility criteria to receive benefits from OSAP. Here are some eligibility parameters that you must meet to qualify for OSAP: 

  • You must either be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Ontario. OSAP is also available to protected persons such as refugees who are allowed in the country based on humanitarian grounds. 
  • You must have completed your high school education. 
  • You must have a valid need for financial assistance to pay for a college education. This particular criterion ensures only students from low-income and mid-income homes can apply for OSAP. 
  • You must be enrolled in a full-time or part-time study program at a designated institute. OSAP also offers financial help to students signed up for micro-credential programs.

Pro Tip:

Call your school’s guidance counsellor to know if your college or course is applicable to receive funding from OSAP. Their expertise could lead you to explore other avenues of student financial aid as well. 

  • You must not have defaulted on previous student loan payments or filed for bankruptcy.
  • You must not have received an overpayment of loans, scholarships, or grants. 
  • You must pass the credit check. This step is taken to ensure that the student is capable of repaying the loans received through OSAP. 

Types of OSAP

Depending on the study program a student has registered for and whether a student has a permanent disability, OSAP can be divided into four types: 

OSAP for Full-Time Students: If you are a resident of Ontario who is back to school full-time, you may receive OSAP loans and grants put in place to help full-time students pay for college tuition fees, living expenses, child care, and more. To learn more about application deadlines, maximum funding limit, loan repayment process, etc., check out OSAP for Full-Time Students.   

OSAP for Part-Time Students: Those belonging to the province of Ontario, who are enrolled in part-time courses can avail of OSAP benefits to pay for post-secondary education and child care. Read all about OSAP for Part-Time Students to understand key aspects of the student aid such as application process, maximum OSAP amount, managing loan repayment, etc. 

OSAP for Students Enrolled in Micro-Credential Programs: Students living in Ontario can receive grants and loans from OSAP even if they are studying in a micro-credential course. For those wondering what a micro-credential program is, it is a short-time certificate course to learn a new skill or competency that would aid you in growing your career. To know more about this OSAP scheme, check out OSAP for Students Enrolled in Micro-Credential Programs. 

OSAP for Students with Permanent Disability: There is a special provision in OSAP to financially help students with a permanent disability. Read all about OSAP for Students with Permanent Disability to understand OSAP’s definition of permanent disability and to familiarize yourself with benefits as well as the application process. 

How much can you get

If you are wondering how much OSAP can contribute to your post-secondary education expenses, you should know that it totally depends on your financial needs. While there is a maximum OSAP amount limit for each type of OSAP listed above, the amount that you can get is calculated based on the following parameters: 

  • Cost of college expenses including tuition fee, books, equipment, additional education services, etc. 
  • Course load i.e. full-time or part-time course. 
  • Cost of living including child care. 
  • Duration of the sport-secondary program. 
  • Your family’s annual income with respect to the number of family members.    

Other Ontario student aid programs

What if the financial aid that you get from OSAP is not enough to cover all your post-secondary education expenses? There is no reason to press the panic button as there are plenty of other federal and provincial funding options to help you out with your study-related monetary needs. Check out other student aid programs offered by the government of Ontario such as Ontario Student Scholarships, Ontario Student Bursaries, and Other Ontario Grants for Students in Special Circumstances. 

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Provincial Funding

Looking for student aid options offered by your local province? Choose your province of residence below to check out provincial funding options such as grants, loans, scholarships, and bursaries.
*All student funding, whether made available privately or through various government branches, is only approved to those who qualify, by the original source of funding. There are many criteria that each candidate must meet to be approved. Schools can only inform you of what may be available.