Studying full-time is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is difficult to take a leap of faith into a full-time post-secondary program especially if you have responsibilities towards your family and/or if you simply love your job.
If you are contemplating part-time courses to elevate your career from the doldrums to the realms of greatness, and are wondering if the cost of education would burn a hole through your pocket, you are not alone. Fortunately, there is financial help for Ontarians who wish to juggle part-time post-secondary education along with work or family welfare.
Ontario Student Assistance Program for Part-Time Students has been designed to aid residents of Ontario who are venturing back to school on a part-time basis. OSAP for Part-Time students not only offers financial support to pay for tuition fee but it also helps in paying for childcare. Unlike OSAP for full-time students, this scheme for part-time students doesn’t cover living expenses while studying.
Intrigued to know more about OSAP for Part-Time Students? Here’s a low-down of all you need to know about the provincial student aid program for part-time learners:
OSAP for Part-Time Students – Eligibility & How to Apply
To simply put, you need to fulfill four major criteria to qualify for this student aid:
- You must be one of the following: a citizen of Canada, a permanent resident, or a protected person.
- Your address of residence should be in Ontario.
- You must be registered with a part-time post-secondary program from a designated school.
Next Steps: Confused if your school or course is benefited by OSAP? Ask your school’s guidance counsellor for clarification, and discover if there are other avenues of student aid available for part-time students.
- There must be a need for financial assistance from the provincial government of Ontario to pay for college and other expenses related to post-secondary education.
How to apply
Part-time students in Ontario can seek monetary help from OSAP through a straightforward application process. Here’s a breakdown of steps to apply for OSAP for part-time students:
- First and foremost, use your Social Insurance Number to register for an OSAP account online. During account creation, an OSAP Access Number is generated. Make a note of the access number as it is essential for successful login in the future.
- Since OSAP is offered just for the period of study in the current school year, part-time students must apply for OSAP from scratch during every school year to continue receiving grants and loans.
- Keep the following information handy while filling the OSAP application:
a) Name of your school and your post-secondary program.
b) SIN number of your parents/spouse.
c) Your income tax return consisting of your tax information.
d) Your parents’/spouse’s income tax return with details of their tax information.
- If you are studying part-time in a post-secondary education program extending up to 21 weeks or more, then you need to submit your OSAP application a minimum of 60 days before the end of the study period in the current school year.
- If you are studying part-time in a post-secondary education program of duration less than 20 weeks, then the deadline for submitting the OSAP application is a minimum of 40 days before the end of the study period.
Once you submit the OSAP application for part-time students, your financial needs will be assessed for Federal Student Grants and Loans as well.
Things to do after applying
Applying for OSAP for Part-Time Students wasn’t that hard, was it? But there are a few things that are still pending from your end before you reap the benefits of OSAP. Here are a few steps that you need to complete after applying for OSAP:
- Keep track of OSAP updates: The process of assessment of your application and the allocation of OSAP funds is quite transparent. Log in to your OSAP account regularly to check for updates on the status of your application, additional documents required to complete the assessment, how much OSAP aid you will get, how the OSAP amount would be allocated between loans and grants, etc.
- Create an NSLSC account: If you are eligible to receive OSAP loans as a part-time student, then you must create an account with the National Student Loan Service Centre. The NSLSC portal helps you to efficiently manage your loans while studying and offers assistance with the repayment process. Click on the link to know more about NSLSC.
- Complete your Part-Time Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement: No loan ever gets sanctioned without an agreement. To receive OSAP loans, part-time students of Ontario must enter into a lifetime loan contract with OSAP by signing the Part-Time Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (PT-MSFAA). This loan agreement holds you accountable to repay loans that you receive from OSAP. Once you receive a notification from NSLSC to complete the MSFAA, you have up to 40 days after the completion of your study period in the current school year to submit the signed agreement.
- Keep an eye out for changes to your OSAP amount: Any major updates you make to the OSAP account such as changing family income can have a significant impact on the OSAP amount allocated to you. In case any discrepancies are found in your tax information, it can not only change the OSAP amount you may receive but might also alter the allocation of OSAP between grants and loans. To know more about circumstances that can lead to the conversion of grants into loans, check out OSAP for Full-Time Students.
How much can you get?
Nothing gets students more excited than knowing the OSAP amount that they are eligible to receive. While the amount of OSAP allocated to a part-time student depends on family income, college tuition fee, cost of books and other education services, and childcare expenses, there is a maximum OSAP amount in place to limit the funding.
The maximum OSAP grant for part-time students is $500 per school year. If your financial need exceeds the maximum OSAP grant amount, then the difference will be covered by OSAP loans. Do not forget that there are other federal student aid programs such as Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Students and Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Students with Dependents to help part-time students pursue post-secondary education.
Depending on how accurately you complete the application and how soon you sign the MSFAA contract, the OSAP amount may be disbursed at the earliest in two instalments:
- at the start of the study period in a current school year
- in the middle of the study period in a current school year.
If you are a part-time student receiving OSAP loans, you must be anxious to know about the repayment process. Don’t fret as there is plenty of help available to repay OSAP loans. Here are some basics of OSAP loan repayment:
- You do not have to repay loans while you are studying.
- There is no interest charged on the loan till you complete post-secondary education.
- After graduation, you have a six-month grace period during which you don’t have to repay loans. However, interest is accrued on the loan during this six-month grace period.
- You need to repay the loan to NSLSC, not OSAP.
- The average repayment period can be extended from 9½ years to 14½ years.
For in-depth knowledge about the repayment process, please read OSAP for Full-Time Students.
Other Ontario Student Aid Programs
Want to explore other provincial funding options in Ontario? Check out Ontario Student Scholarships, Bursaries, and Other Grants for Students in Special Circumstances.