Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
There is no greater investment you can make in your future than your education, to give you the skills and knowledge you need to start a rewarding career. To support eligible learners with making this investment, Ontario provides publicly-funded financial assistance through OSAP.
Ontario and Canada have integrated their student financial assistance programs under OSAP. Funding is provided by both governments through a single payment, and Ontario administers the federal portion on behalf of Canada.
OSAP offers funding through grants and a loan. When you apply, you are automatically considered for both grants and loan.
Learn about OSAP to find out how you can get help paying for your college & university.
A grant is publicly-funded aid that you do not have to pay back. It is usually awarded on financial need and/or other factors. Both the Ontario and Federal governments provide grants to eligible students. A list of available grants and bursaries is provided below.
Provincial grants and Bursaries
- Ontario Student Grant
- Indigenous Student Bursary*
- Ontario Indigenous Travel Grant*
- Ontario First Generation Bursary*
- Ontario Graduate Scholarship*
- Ontario Out-of-Country Bursary for Deaf Students*
- Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology*
- Bursary for Students with Disabilities*
- Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students
- Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities
- Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students with Dependants
- Skills Boost Top-Up to the Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students
- Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities*
*These programs require you to submit a separate application which you can access through your school`s Financial Aid Office or Graduate Studies Office. Some of the applications are available on the Forms section of the website [ontario.ca/osap]. Additional information on these grants and bursaries is also available on the OSAP website.
If you go to a public postsecondary school in Ontario, you may also be eligible for financial help through the Student Access Guarantee (SAG), a partnership program between the ministry and Ontario's publicly assisted colleges and universities. If OSAP doesn't cover your program costs and you still need money, your school maybe provide additional financial aid in the form of a bursary, scholarship, work-study or referral to a line of credit. You can contact your school's Financial Aid Office for more information.
A loan is borrowed money that you need to repay. You are only required to start repaying your OSAP loan six months after you graduate or leave full-time studies, but interest will start accumulating on the provincial portion of your student loan as soon as you graduate or leave school.
Both the provincial and federal governments provide publicly-funded loans to eligible students through OSAP. If you receive loan funding from Ontario and/or Canada, it is known as the Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan.
The basics of borrowing
Generally, a loan consists of three key components:
- Principal: the money you borrow.
- Interest Rate: the lender’s charge for use of their money.
- Repayment Term: the length of time the borrower has to pay back the loan.
Please note these calculations are for illustrative purposes only.
The interest rates on your first payment date are used to figure out the monthly payment for your loan (current rates: Ontario = prime rate + 1%, Canada = 0%).
Between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2023, Canada will not be charging interest on the federal portion of an OSAP loan.
The prime rate, also known as the prime lending rate, is the annual interest rate used by banks and financial institutions to lend money to individuals and businesses. It is primarily influenced by the Bank of Canada’s (the central bank of Canada) monetary policy interest rate, the rate at which the Bank of Canada lends money to banks and financial institutions.
Repayment of an OSAP loan is required after you graduate or leave full-time studies and is made through monthly payments. If you would like to pay back your loan faster, you can make payments greater than your minimum monthly amount without any penalty or make lump-sum payments at any time. This will benefit you by reducing the overall interest amount you are required to pay.
To find out what your monthly loan payments could be when you leave school, you can use the OSAP Repayment Calculator on the website.
There are some situations where grants may be converted into a loan.
Grants may be converted into a loan if:
- You withdraw from studies within the first 30 days of starting school, and don’t return as a full-time student within 5 months in the same academic year
- As a result of an OSAP reassessment, you are not entitled to all or part of the grant that you received (e.g., dropped courses, unreported income)
- Income information provided by you and/or your family cannot be verified within one year from the start of your studies (this applies only to the Ontario Student Grant)
It is important to ensure that all the income information you provide is accurate and complete, and to respond promptly to warnings/additional information requests as required.
When a grant is converted into a loan, it is added to your loan debt and will be part of your loan payment when you leave school.
Eligibility is determined through a financial need assessment which considers your costs (such as tuition, fees, books and living expenses) as well as the financial resources available to you.
How much funding is available?
The amount and types of funding you’re eligible to receive are based on several factors, including you
- Financial need
- Family status (e.g., single or married)
- Course load (full-time or part-time)
- Level of study (e.g., undergraduate, graduate)
- School’s location
You may be eligible for additional funding if you’re:
- an Indigenous student
- a current or former Ontario child in extended society care
- a first generation student
- a student with a disability
- a student who is deaf or hard of hearing
- a student who is in receipt of social assistance
The full-time maximum aid amounts are based on a weekly maximum and depend on where you’re going to school. For the 2021-22 school year, OSAP provides the following maximum assistance levels (grant and loan combined):
- $405 per week for single students
- $695 per week for students who are married or sole support parents
You are considered for a maximum of $210 per week if you attend a private postsecondary school outside Ontario, or a postsecondary school outside Canada.
Learn moreabout maximum amounts aid.
Once you’ve applied for OSAP, you will receive an estimate of the amount of funding you may be eligible to receive based on the information you’ve provided. If you’ve submitted multiple applications, you can view a comparison of your funding estimates for each application.
For illustrative purposes only
After your application is submitted, your online OSAP account will provide important information including:
- The status of your application
- What supporting documents you are required to submit
- If you or your school must provide additional information
Before you receive your loan you must sign your loan agreement, known as the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA). The MSFAA is a lifetime loan agreement, containing the terms and conditions you must agree to receive and repay your OSAP loan. You will only be required to sign the MSFAA once, unless you leave school for two years or more. Our partner, the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC), which administers student loans funded by the federal and/or Ontario governments, will send you an email when it’s time for you to register for your online account and complete your MSFAA.
While you’re in studies, you can log in to your online NSLSC account to access tools and information that may help you budget during the school year and prepare you for successful repayment.
When your funding has been calculated, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will notify you of how much you’re receiving. Depending on your correspondence preferences, you will either receive this information by mail, or be notified through your online OSAP account.
You’ll receive your OSAP funding after your application has been reviewed, information has been verified, required supporting documents have been approved, and your school has confirmed your enrolment. The verification process may take four to six weeks.
If you attend full-time studies from September to April, you will typically receive your OSAP funding in two installments:
- the first, when you start your study period (usually in September)
- the rest, halfway through your studies (usually in January)
For most students, money will be sent to your school first to pay your balance; any left over funding will be deposited into your bank account by the NSLSC.
If you’re attending a public postsecondary school in Ontario, you will be provided a net bill through your school’s online billing portal. Your net bill will show you how much OSAP is being applied against your account and whether you owe any additional money after OSAP is considered.
For illustrative purposes only.
Interest and repayment
While you are only required to begin paying back your student loans six months after you graduate or stop being a full-time student, interest begins accumulating on the Ontario portion of your loan as soon as you graduate or leave school.
Between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2023, Canada will not be charging interest on the federal portion of an OSAP loan.
Repayment consists of a monthly payment towards your loan, plus payment of interest charges that are added to your loan balance. You are encouraged to consider accelerated payment plans where possible to reduce the interest accumulated on the loan and pay back balances faster.
If you don’t make your loan payments after you leave full-time studies, you will be in default.
A loan from OSAP is considered “in default” when no payments have been made for 270 days.
Being in default means:
- your debt will be turned over to a collection agency
- you will be reported to a credit bureau
- you could be ineligible for further OSAP until the default is cleared
- your ability to get a car loan, mortgage or credit card may be affected
- your income tax refund and HST rebate can be withheld
- interest will continue to build up on the unpaid balance of your loan
Your OSAP debt will only be erased when you have paid it off in full. Learn more
Repayment of student loans is an excellent way to establish and improve your credit score.
There may be instances when you need OSAP one year, but not the next. For example, if you applied for and received OSAP in your first year of undergraduate studies and decide you don’t need any financial aid for your second year, you don’t have to apply.
If you decide to continue full-time studies without applying for OSAP, you must complete a Continuation of Interest-Free Status application to make sure your loans don't become repayable while you’re in school. You can find this application online when you log into your OSAP account.
It is important to confirm your enrolment every year that you are in studies to maintain your interest-free status.
If you’re not continuing in full-time studies, you may need to start paying back your OSAP. Within six months after you graduate or leave full-time studies, you will receive a package from the NSLSC with information about repaying your loan.
Creating a budget
Once you’ve received your OSAP estimate, you might want to consider creating a budget. Creating a budget is a great way to track your finances.
Here are a few simple steps to creating a budget:
- Use an online budget planning tool or a spreadsheet to create your own customized budget
- Individually list your resources (e.g., money from working, grants, student loans) and add them up to get your financial contribution to your education
- Calculate your expenses for your school term (e.g., tuition, fees, books, meal plan)
- Subtract your total expenses from your total financial contribution to your education
- Budget your extra money for emergencies or optional expenses, such as special gifts, if possible
- Figure out ways to adjust if you have a shortage (e.g., part-time employment, reducing non-essential expenses)
Working with a budget can help you become a smart consumer. Remember to:
- Check your bills to spot mistakes and avoid overcharges in late payment fees and interest
- Shop around for the best bank accounts, credit cards and service plans (e.g., car insurance, cell phone)
- Keep track of your income and expenses in a budget
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has more helpful tips, tools, and videos at Canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency.
When budgeting, keep in mind that approximately 60% of your OSAP funding is provided in your first semester and 40% in your second semester. It is important that you budget for your expenses accordingly and make use of these lump sums appropriately over the two semesters.
Understanding Credit and Debt
Credit: An agreement in which a borrower receives something of value now and agrees to repay the lender later
Credit score: a number that comes from the information in your credit report (i.e., summary of your credit history) that shows your credit risk (i.e., how risky it would be for a lender to lend you money)
Debt: Money that you owe
Generally, it is not a good idea to use credit to buy things you cannot afford. There are ways to use credit wisely to meet your goals and build up a healthy credit profile. However, it is important that when you use credit to buy something, you pay it back.
Good debt vs. bad debt
When you borrow money, you should consider whether it can be categorized as “good debt” or “bad debt”.
Good debt typically refers to investments that create value or produce more wealth in the long run and often have low interest rates. Examples include student loans to pursue postsecondary education, car loans and home mortgages.
Bad debt typically refers to purchases with high interest rates, purchasing discretionary items that you can't repay on time and in full, resulting in interest charges and more debt. Examples include charges on credit cards with high interest rates and payday loans.
Using credit cards wisely
Credit cards can be a great resource for students and offer convenience for small purchases, online items and emergencies. However, they can be a very expensive way to borrow money because the balance on your credit card is essentially a loan that collects interest unless you pay back the amount owing in full by the due date. By using your credit card responsibly, you can build a positive credit history which will make it easier for you to borrow in the future.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep the lowest credit limit possible (the total balance you can have on your card).
- Avoid credit cards with high interest rates and annual fees.
- Pay the balance in full each month. If you cannot pay in full, pay as much as you can and avoid additional purchases until your balance is paid.
Tips for managing your debt
- Shop around: do your research, compare interest rates and always inquire about lower rate options
- Keep within your budget: borrow only what you can afford to pay back in a realistic time
- Use savings to pay off balances and pay off your highest interest rate debts first
Start automatic/online bill payments to stay on schedule and avoid added charges
- Make sure you print and sign all the documents under the “Required Documents” section. Make sure you also check your account frequently, OSAP may require you to sign documents that they didn’t need you to sign at first
- Under your “Required Documents” there is a section for your MSFAA registration. Your MSFAA registration link and registration number may not generate right away. Sometimes the MSFAA Link and number can take up to three (3) business days to generate. When they do generate, they will be in the MSFAA section under “Required Documents”
- When applying, each question has a blue button in the form of a sentence under the question to help you. For example, under the declare assets question there is a blue sentence that says something along the lines of “What assets can I declare?”. If you click this blue sentence a pop-up will appear with information on what to include. Please make sure you have pop-ups enabled for the OSAP page
Learn about OSAPand find out how you can get help paying for your college & university
- Who do I contact if I need help with my application?
If you have any questions regarding your OSAP application, you should consult the information available on the OSAP website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- How long will it take to process my application?
We recommend submitting your OSAP online as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for processing and verifying your application.
- What if I don’t feel the amount of funding is right?
Please get in touch with our financial aid team to discuss your situation.
- When to expect my OSAP fund?
When your OSAP funding is released, a portion of your funding may be sent directly to your school to pay your tuition and other school-related fees on your behalf. Any remaining funding will be deposited directly into your bank account. Check your school student account to see how much OSAP will be applied against your bill and if you have a remaining balance. OSAP fund will be released in 2 disbursements. It will be given out within 15 days of the start date of the term; and again, halfway through your study period. The timeline varies depending on when your application (including required documents) is reviewed and verified.
- What happens if I withdraw?
You might lose eligibility for further funding. Your OSAP fund might be reduced, and you might be placed in OSAP probation or restriction. Your grant might be converted to loan.
- Returning to School but I Have OSAP from Before
If you are returning to full-time studies 2021-2022 with 2020-2019 OSAP application, login to your OSAP account to re-apply and confirm the profile information. Then you will complete the application questions and submit the application. After that, check your account for any documentation you are required to submit.
- My Disbursement date on my OSAP funding page keeps changing, why is that?
The disbursement date on your OSAP funding page is an estimation of when your funds will be released. As this is an estimated date, it is subject to change. Always refer to your account status on your OSAP account page for any information. It is your responsibility to always check your account status. OSAP will only communicate updates about your account directly to you, not to TREBAS Institute.
- When Does Grant Convert to Loan