Understanding OSAP: Before You Apply

Posted by York & U on September 28, 2017

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If you are a newly admitted student who will be enrolling at York U in January 2018,  you should start thinking about your OSAP application. Although OSAP is administered by the Ontario government, the #YUBlog team wants to help you navigate the application process. As a student borrower, it’s your responsibility to apply for your funding on time and to provide all necessary information, signatures and supporting documents. Additionally, once you are confirmed as eligible for OSAP, you will be eligible for other financial aid opportunities at York U, including our unique Work/Study positions! To avoid delays in receiving your funds, review our tips below for submitting your application successfully.

What is OSAP?

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a financial aid program offered jointly by the Ontario and federal governments. It is the largest source of loans and non-repayable grants for eligible students in Ontario.

Success tip: Once you are confirmed as eligible to receive OSAP, you can be considered for other forms of financial aid at York U.

Image by York University.
A student speaks with a York U Financial Aid Advisor.

Am I eligible for OSAP?

OSAP is available to Ontario residents who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons. If you are a Canadian citizen who is not an Ontario resident, check your home province’s student loans website. To be eligible for full-time OSAP aid, you must:

  • Be registered in full-time studies for the session. (Take a look at York’s course load calculator to understand what “full-time” means in terms of your own course load.)
  • Have Ontario residency, meaning that you have lived in Ontario for at least 12 consecutive months without attending a full-time postsecondary school.
  • Be registered in an OSAP-approved degree program. Most degree programs at York are OSAP approved.
  • Be neither in default on a previous OSAP student loan nor on OSAP restriction.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress while receiving OSAP aid. The government’s minimum requirement for academic progress is that you must pass at least 18 credits during the fall/winter session.
  • If you are a student with a permanent disability, you must pass at least 12 credits during the fall/winter session.
  • Demonstrate financial need as calculated by the government. Gross family income as well as student resources and assets are taken into consideration.

York U’s OSAP website can help you determine your eligibility before you apply. Use York U’s course load calculator to see if you qualify as a full-time student.

Image by York University.
Check OSAP’s eligibility requirements before you apply.

Can I still receive OSAP as a part-time student?

You must be enrolled in full-time studies to be eligible for OSAP at York U. However, if you are a part-time student (including college and mature transfer students), you may be eligible for the federal Part-time Canada Student Loan and Canada Student Grants Program. Use York’s course load calculator to find out if you are considered a part-time student.

To be eligible for the Part-time Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grant Program, you must meet the OSAP residency and income requirements as well as the following:

  • You must be registered in an OSAP-approved degree program (most degree programs at York are eligible).
  • If you have previous OSAP loans, they must be in good standing (i.e. you have not defaulted on a student loan and/or you are not restricted from participating in financial aid programs).
  • You maintained satisfactory academic progress while receiving prior government financial aid.
Image by York University.
If you’re a part-time York student, you may be eligible for the federal Part-time Canada Student Loan and Canada Student Grants Program.

How much funding can I receive through OSAP?

The amount of OSAP funding you may be eligible to receive varies for everyone. To find out how much support you may be able to receive, use the aid estimator on the OSAP website. Before you apply for OSAP, make sure that you have an accurate sense of your yearly educational costs to set a budget. Take a look at our previous #YUBlog post “How to Stick to Your Student Budget” to outline your costs and create a finance plan for your education.

What can I use OSAP for?

You can use OSAP for educational costs while you’re a student. For example, you may use your funding for tuition, books, lab equipment and supplies. Full-time students can use OSAP for living expenses and students with children may use their funding for childcare costs.

How do I apply for OSAP?

If you are a new student applying for OSAP, you will need to register for an OSAP account online and submit an application for York U. To fill out your application, you will need to provide the following information and supporting documents:

  • Your program of study, year level, and start and end date of the session (e.g. January to April during the winter term).
  • An estimate or record of your income and the income of anyone who might be supporting you (e.g. your parents, spouse, etc.).
  • Additional assets that may affect the consideration of your application, such as savings accounts, provincial savings bonds, mutual funds or corporate bonds.
  • Your OAN (OSAP Access Number).

First-time applicants also need to fill out the Master Student Financial Assistant Agreement (MSFAA), which outlines the terms, conditions and responsibilities of being a student loan borrower.

To learn more about applying for OSAP, visit York U’s OSAP webpage and review the eight steps to complete your application.

Image by York University.
Before you apply for OSAP, review York U’s eight steps to complete your application.

What if I still have questions?

If you have questions about your OSAP application and aid funding, the OSAP website is the best place to start.

If you have questions about your own academic record in relation to OSAP, contact Registrarial Services on the Keele campus or Student Financial Services on the Glendon campus for help. You can visit a Financial Aid Advisor at the Bennett Centre for Student Services or give them a call at 416-872-9675 (416-872-YORK). If you would like to contact Student Financial Services at Glendon, you can call 416-487-6701 or email finance@glendon.yorku.ca.

If you have not received your funds for the 2017 Fall term or have questions about your loan debt, repayment or need to change your banking information, contact The National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) by calling 1-888-815-4514.

Read our previous #YUBlog post in the “Understanding OSAP” series, “After You’ve Applied” or watch the “How to apply” video on the OSAP website for an overview of the application process.

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