If you are a student in need or in pursuit of financial aid, then you have probably heard of OSAP! As a fourth-year veteran of the OSAP application process, I completely understand that sometimes—like most technology—applying for OSAP can get confusing, so let’s break it down a little bit!
What is OSAP?
OSAP stands for the Ontario Student Assistance Program, and is geared toward lessening the burden on students and their families applying to a post-secondary program! OSAP comes in the form of a loan (you pay this back) and grants (you do not have to pay this back, yay!) provided by the federal and provincial governments. You can put this money towards your tuition, books, residence/rent, etc.
What do I need to apply?
When applying for OSAP, there is some information you are going to need. The amount of money you will receive is based off of the cost of your program, your living expenses and your current financial situation.
That being said, make sure that you know the length of your program, the estimated tuition costs for the year, your rent or residence cost for the year, and any other school fees you may have.
I also recommend to have your parents with you when you fill out the application, as there is information from their income taxes from the previous year, their Social Insurance Number (SIN), and other personal information that will be needed to complete the application.
How do I apply?
When I first applied for OSAP, it was something that had to be done in paper the first time with a printed financial agreement that could only be mailed from certain post offices! I still remember being stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get to one of the confirmed post offices that could handle the agreement! Luckily for you, OSAP has updated their application process and you can now do the entire thing from the comfort of your bed! All you have to do is sign up on the OSAP site and provide information to validate your identity and you are ready to start applying!
How do schools receive my tuition from OSAP?
Starting in the 2018-2019 academic year, OSAP will pay the university directly, meaning your funds will be put directly into your student tuition account. Any outstanding balance (maybe the OSAP funding you are receiving will only cover half your tuition) will need to be paid by you. If your OSAP loan is greater than your tuition amount and to be used for residence and book fees, the additional money will be deposited to your bank account, if you have set that up. More information about this process can be found on the university's Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) website.
When should I apply?
It’s best to start applying for OSAP two months prior to the semester you need the loan for, if you haven’t already. By getting this process done early, not only do you have one less thing to worry about, but you can ensure that your tuition will be paid and your registration as a student will be confirmed. Do note that your OSAP will come in after the university has confirmed your enrolment for the upcoming semester/year. This means that you must have enrolled in classes to confirm your enrolment, and for OSAP to release your funding. To ensure you do not have any late penalties, ensure that there is an OSAP deferment note on your MyCampus account, or contact the SAFA office for more info! As always, the university is always there to help you out, so do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!