OSAP Eligibility: How to Qualify?

With the rise in the cost of living, it’s fair to say that studying has become far more expensive than it used to be. Many students find themselves in a bind when need to pay for school materials and supplies, plus cover living expenses

For this reason, many students are looking for student loans to help them set off their education without needing to worry if they will have enough to pay for their tuition. 

If you were thinking about applying for OSAP but are not sure how it works, we’ve got you covered. Read our guide to learn about the OSAP eligibility requirements, what is it and how it works. 

Who Is Eligible for OSAP?

Students in Canada have the possibility of receiving student loans through the Ontario Student Assistance Program which is funded by the provincial and federal governments. OSAP is available for residents of Ontario, regardless if they are still in the province during the time of their studies. 

Let’s check out the qualification requirements for an OSAP loan:

  • Per OSAP residency requirements, you must be either a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a protected person or a convention refugee;
  • Be a resident of Ontario and have lived there for at least 12 consecutive months preceding the start of your studies;
  • Must be enrolled in an OSAP-approved program as a full-time student; 
  • Taking a 60 percent course load as a full-time student or 40 percent course load if you’re a student with a permanent disability; 
  • Keeping solid academic progress;
  • Have a solid OSAP loan history from your previous years of studying. 

Following the OSAP requirements, if you have been accepted in a public OSAP-approved educational program in another province, you’re still entitled of receiving the same amount as those studying in Ontario. 

On the other hand, if you are enrolled in a private approved OSAP postsecondary school outside of Ontario, then you’ll be receiving a lower OSAP amount, than those who are studying in Ontario.  

In which cases are applicants not eligible?

We’ve talked about the criteria that need to be met for an OSAP qualification. But if any of the following factors apply to you, then you’re not eligible of qualifying for an OSAP loan

  • You failed to meet the academic progress requirements;
  • You have more than sufficient income to cover your OSAP expenses, regardless of financial resources, including any other form of federal financial aid;
  • If the income you have reported on your OSAP application does not match the income you have reported to the CRA;
  • If you have previously defaulted on a student loan;
  • If your credit check didn’t pass;
  • If you have ever filed for bankruptcy or have requested relief of payment debts;
  • If you have received grant or bursary overpayments;
  • If you are an international student;
  • If you are not an Ontario resident; 
  • You have reached the OSAP loan lifetime limit.

An additional factor that prevents you from an OSAP qualification is the type of program you are planning to sign up for. Certain programs do not fall under OSAP assistance.  

osap-eligibility

How Does OSAP Work?

The objective of OSAP is to help students continue their education by financing their educational expenses. 

Students that meet the OSAP qualification requirements, will be approved of receiving an OSAP loan which will be forwarded directly to the university. Then, students can utilize the loan to cover:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Books and study equipment
  • Residency expenses (available for full-time students only)
  • Child care  

That being said, OSAP provides student funding through loans or grants. Should you opt for a grant, you won’t have to repay the received amount. On the other hand, OSAP loans are repayable after finishing school.

Upon application, students are considered for both a grant and a loan. Full-time or part-time students who don’t wish to take a loan can decline it after the application approval.

How to Apply for OSAP?

The application process for OSAP is straightforward. To start, you first need to fill out an OSAP paper or online application.

Online Application 

The online application is free and allows you to continuously track your application status. Applying online takes about 30 minutes and you can continue with the application any time if you stop. 

To start with your online application:

  • You must provide your social insurance number;
  • Must submit an OSAP application for every next year if you want to continue receiving funding;
  • Provide information details about your school program;
  • Provide information about your parent’s or spouse’s SIN (if applicable);
  • Display tax information about you and your parents or spouse.

If you’re applying as a full-time student with a study period of 21 weeks or longer, submit your application 60 days prior to the end of the study period. 

Part-time students with study periods of 20 weeks or less need to submit an application 40 days before the end of the study period. If you apply for OSAP for part-time students, you must have a course load between 20-59% of a full course load. 

Paper Application 

If you opt for a paper application, you will be charged a $10 fee. Students studying in Ontario must provide complete documentation and application fee and send them to the Financial Aid Office of the institution of their chosen post-secondary education institution. 

Students based outside of Ontario must send complete documentation, plus an application fee to the Student Support Branch in Thunder Bay.

Generally speaking, for both online and paper applications, is advisable to send your application form 10 weeks before the start of the new school year. If you’re applying for the first time for an OSAP loan, then you’re required to submit the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement

In case you have outstanding loans from your previous academic years, but you’re not applying for an OSAP loan for the current year, you must ensure that your OSAP loans are set in interest-free status. By doing so, you’re free from payments on interest and principal. If you fail to put your OSAP loans in interest-free status, then you must start with the payments within six months from the time your last studying period has finished. 

How Much OSAP Can I Get?

The amount you get will largely depend on many factors such as your annual income which falls into your spouse’s income as well as if you’re a parent or have children with disabilities that make them be dependent on you. 

There are additional factors that influence the OSAP amount you receive, such as:

  • Education costs including tuition costs;
  • Childcare;
  • Being a full-time or part-time student;
  • Program hours (applicable only for students in micro-credential studies); 
  • Family size and personal financial situation.  

However, don’t be concerned if you’re spending money from your Registered Education Savings Plan, as it does not affect the OSAP amount you will be receiving. 

Next, let’s take a look at the maximum amounts you can get depending on your student status.

Maximum Amount You Can Get as a Full-Time Student

Here is the highest OSAP amount for full-time single students with no dependants, depending on the school they are attending:

  • A public university/college in Ontario and outside of Ontario –  $410 per week
  • OSAP-approved private postsecondary school in Ontario – $410 per week
  • A private postsecondary school in a different province – $210 per week
  • For private/public postsecondary schools outside Canada – $210 per week

For married students, students in a common-law relationship, or students who are a sole support parent, the OSAP amounts are as follows:

  • A public university/college in Ontario and outside of Ontario –  $705 per week
  • OSAP-approved private postsecondary school in Ontario – $705 per week
  • A private postsecondary school in a different province – $210 per week
  • For private/public postsecondary schools outside Canada – $210 per week

If you’re a full-time student with dependants, you will get $400 monthly per child and $4,000 per academic year if you’re a student with a disability. 

Maximum Amount You Can Get as a Part-Time Student

With a part-time application, students are eligible for up to five programs. Take a look at the maximum amounts for the academic year of 2022-23:

  • Part-Time Canada Student Loan – The outstanding Part-Time Canada student loan can’t go over $10,000 
  • Canada Student Grant for Students with Disabilities – $4,000
  • Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Studies – $3,600
  • Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Students with Dependants – $3,840
  • Ontario Part-Time Grant – $500

Part-time student funding is enabled through the Canadian and Ontarian governments.

Maximum Amount You Can Get as a Student in a Micro-Credential Program 

Students in micro-credential programs can receive a combination of loans and grants. Your household annual income and your family size, as well as the duration of your study period, will determine how much you will get. 

You will get $5,000 for Tuition, books, equipment and program fees per maximum study period. Additionally, your educational allowance is $5 per study hour.  

*The provided information regarding the max OSAP loan you’re eligible to receive is based on the estimations for the academic year of 2022/2023. 

osap-eligibility

How to Get Extra Money From OSAP?

Apart from the standard OSAP loans and grants, you might be eligible for extra funding if you’re an exceptionally skilled student if you’re a student with dependents or a student with disabilities. 

Furthermore, Canada offers additional financial help for students with permanent disabilities. They are entitled to a bursary for students with disabilities if they are taking between 40 – 59% of a full course load.  

Children that are under the care of Ontario’s social services, once they reach the age for getting into a college or university, are entitled to extra OSAP funds. This also applies to students of extended society care aged between 21 and 24. 

Students that have previously been under child welfare, but haven’t used the benefits of this program while studying, can apply for a retroactive refund. They can receive a refund for application fees or for the expenses of the previous studying years. 

Another program designed to enable extra OSAP funding for indigenous students in Canada is the Indigenous Student Bursary. The allowance is determined by the tuition fees and living costs. Depending on the financial and academic institution, the amount of OSAP allowance can be fairly different. The grant for Indigenous students ranges between $1,000 to $3,500.

You might want to check out the Top Personal Loans in Canada in 2022

Conclusion 

OSAP offers two types of funding, loans and grants. You can choose either after your application approval. While the amount you receive is generally determined by whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, others factors can also influence the amount your receive. 

It’s important to remember that the OSAP loan must be repaid, while the OSAP grant is non-repayable. If you’re interested in applying for OSAP, you must check if you meet the OSAP requirements and start your application at least 10 weeks before the start of the academic year. 

FAQ

What is the maximum income to qualify for OSAP?

Generally, your maximum income must not exceed $5,600 per term during your studies. This threshold includes income from several different sources such as employment, child support, rental income, investment income, etc. 

When applying for an OSAP loan, your financial situation will be carefully assessed and will be taken into account all your streams of income. Based on the final calculation, it will be determined if you’re eligible for receiving OSAP.

When do you apply for OSAP?

As per OSAP recommendations, 10 weeks before the start of your study period is the best time to submit your application. This is due to the assessment process which could take a while.

Why is my program not eligible for OSAP?

You might not be eligible for OSAP if you don’t fullfill the academic qualifications or don’t have enough available funds to pay for the OSAP expenses.

Is there an OSAP lifetime limit?

Depending on the type of studies and the duration of the studies, the OSAP lifetime limit differs for each category. 

For instance, the lifetime limit for university/college studies is 340 weeks of funding. For doctoral studies, the lifetime limit is 400 weeks of funding and 520 weeks for students with disabilities. 

Can you get OSAP If you have savings?

Yes. Using money from your Registered Education Savings Plan won’t affect your OSAP eligibility.

ABOUT AUTHOR

When Angela combined her deep-seated love for linguistics with her growing interest for finance and money management, she struck a gold mine. She’s scoured the internet far and wide for all things related to money and finances, including payments, budgeting and investing. Now she’s eager to share her knowledge and skills with the world, determined to make it a better place. In her free time, she loves to read a good book.

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