Being a full-time student is no mean feat, especially if you had been working before returning to school. Apart from focusing on the full-time course load, you also have to worry about paying tuition fees, managing living expenses, paying bills, and taking care of dependents if any. Thankfully, full-time students in Ontario have to fret less about finances due to the OSAP scheme offered by the provincial government of Ontario.
Ontario Student Assistance Program for Full-Time Students not just provides student aid to pay for post-secondary education, but it also offers monetary help to pay for personal living expenses and child care for full-time students in Ontario. It offers financial assistance to full-time students in the form of grants and loans.
OSAP, when coupled with other provincial and federal student aid options, offers plenty of financial support to those returning to school full-time. Not convinced yet to pursue higher education full-time? Maybe a little more digging about OSAP for Full-Time Students might help you reconsider.
To qualify for OSAP for Full-Time Students, you must meet three major requirements:
Contact your school’s guidance counsellor if you have any doubts about the study program being supported by OSAP.
The OSAP application process is fairly simple and it generally takes less than 15 minutes to complete it. Here are the steps for a full-time student to apply for OSAP:
a)Your school and your post-secondary program.
b) SIN number of your parents/spouse.
c) Your tax information found in the income tax return.
d) Your parents’/spouse’s tax information found in their income tax return.
Your family’s annual income is determined using the tax information that you share while applying.
Please note that the OSAP application that you submit would also be assessed for Federal Student Grants and Loans. OSAP will allocate funding only if Federal Student Grant doesn’t completely cover the financial need of a student.
So, you managed to submit the application for OSAP for Full-Time Students before the deadline. Awesome! But now is not the time to sit back and relax. There are a few important things that you need to do after completing the application process:
You need to check your OSAP account from time to time to be aware of the changes that might apply to your OSAP funding.
Let’s talk numbers to get you more excited about OSAP. The maximum OSAP amount that you may receive depends on factors such as where you are studying, marital status, dependent children, etc. If you are a full-time student from Ontario applying for OSAP for the school year of 2021-2022, here’s the maximum weekly OSAP amount you can get across different scenarios:
If you study at a public college in Ontario
If you study at a designated post-secondary private college in Ontario
If you study at a public college in other provinces
If you study at a post-secondary private college in other provinces
If you study at a post-secondary school outside Canada
The timeline for receiving the OSAP funds depends on various factors such as the correctness of the information provided in the application, any additional documents required for verification, etc. Generally, a full-time student can expect to receive the OSAP funds before the last five business days of the school year.
Many of you may be wondering how to go about repaying OSAP loans. Don’t worry, we have you covered! Here are some key aspects of OSAP loan repayments:
Let’s explore some of these aforementioned points in detail:
Interest-Free Loan period: There is no interest accrued on loan amounts till the student continues their post-secondary education full-time. To keep the loan interest-free for each school year till the course is completed, the student has to either continue applying for OSAP for Full-Time Students or opt for Continuation of Interest-Free Status each year.
Six-month Grace Period: At the end of the study period in each school year, full-time students get a six-month grace period before the repayment process kicks in. Please note that interest starts to accrue on the loan amount in this six-month grace period. If you are still studying full-time during the next school year, you can apply for OSAP again or opt for Continuation of Interest-Free Status to stop the commencement of the six-month grace period and avoid repaying the loan while studying. In general, the six-month grace period for loan non-repayment starts after the completion of the course or after leaving the full-time study program.
If you are starting a new business in Ontario all by yourself or with partners, you could get an additional six months of loan non-repayment period. This extension of the grace period is also applicable for those who work or volunteer with a non-profit organization.
Calculation of Interest Rate: The variable interest rate, applied to the OSAP loan amount, is calculated by adding one percent to the current prime rate, computed by taking the average of interest rates across the top five Canadian banks.
Repayment Period: If you have completed your post-secondary course or have voluntarily left full-time studies, NSLSC would send a repayment package during the six-month grace period that includes details of interest rates, date of first payment, and the total number of payments. On average, it takes close to 9½ years to repay the OSAP loans along with interest. But if you are struggling to make regular payments, you can reduce the monthly repayment amount by extending the repayment period to 14½ years.
Repayment Assistance: Those who are unable to repay OSAP loans can apply for repayment assistance through NSLSC. Once a student reaches out for repayment assistance, a new monthly payment would be calculated after considering the student’s family income, family size, and outstanding OSAP loan balance. Through the repayment assistance program, both the provincial government of Ontario and the student will make payments towards the loan amount. A student could seek repayment assistance for up to six months through one application.
Want to explore other provincial funding options in Ontario? Check out Ontario Student Scholarships, Bursaries, and Other Grants for Students in Special Circumstances.