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The costs associated with post-secondary education can add up. Tuition, books, and living expenses can all cost thousands of dollars, meaning many students require financial assistance to pay for their post-secondary education. Luckily, in Ontario, some student support is available. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) offers grants and loans for eligible students to pay for continuing education after high school. Students do not need to pay back grants, but they do have to pay back student loans. 

Key Points You Should Know About Applying For OSAP

  • You can apply for OSAP online or via mail. To apply online, you must register for an account on the OSAP website.
  • Whether you’re a new or returning student, you must still apply for OSAP for the academic year.
  • You should receive a response regarding your OSAP funds within 3 to 6 weeks after applying. 

How To Apply For OSAP Online

Students interested in applying for OSAP must follow a specific process to apply to the program. Failure to follow these steps or to submit the appropriate documentation may result in students not receiving the money they need to pay for school.

Step 1. Create An OSAP Account

The first step to applying for OSAP is registering for an account on the OSAP website. Information required for registration includes personal information such as your name, birth date, contact information, Social Insurance Number, and Ontario Education Number.

Step 2. Start Your OSAP Application

Once you’ve created an account and received your OSAP Access Number (OAN), you can use it to log in and start your application.  It usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete your OSAP application. 

Information Required To Apply

You will need information on your: 

  • School and program
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Spouse’s or parents’ Social Insurance Numbers
  • Tax information for your spouse, parents, and yourself

Note: If you don’t know what school you’ll be attending, you must submit an OSAP application for each school you’ve applied to.

Step 3. Submit Application

When you submit your application, you’ll see an estimate of how much OSAP funding you may be eligible for. You may be eligible for more money if you’re an Indigenous student, a student with a permanent disability, or if you’re a former or current Crown ward.

Step 4. Complete Your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) (If Required)

Once you’ve submitted your OSAP application, you may also need to complete a Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement. This agreement details how you can accept and repay any student loans, and it covers current and future student loans. 

You will only need to sign a new agreement if you take a 2-year break from school or permanently move to another province or territory.

Do You Need To Complete The MSFAA?

The National Student Loans Service Centre will send you an email if you need to submit an MSFAA. 

If you’re a student in a micro-credential program or a rapid training program for in-demand skills, you don’t need an MSFAA. Instead, you must complete a Micro-Credential Student Loan Agreement for each program application you submit.

Step 5. Upload Your Declaration Forms

You may also need to upload additional documents to your OSAP application, including your signature and declaration forms. 

  • If you are a part-time or full-time student, you must submit these documents no less than 40 days before the end of your study period. 
  • If you are a student in a micro-credential program, you must submit these documents no more than five days after the end of your study period.

Step 6. Get Your OSAP Funds

It usually takes between three and six weeks to receive an update about your OSAP application after OSAP receives all the required documentation for your application. You can see any updates online on your OSAP account. You can also opt-in to receive email notifications for any updates so you can be informed as soon as your application is updated.

How To Apply For OSAP Via Paper Application

ForDetails
Full-Time Students (2023-2024)Application Form
Due Date – Must be received no later than 60 days before your 2023-24 study period ends.
Ontario Students – Send to your school’s financial aid office
Students outside of Ontario – Mail to:
Student Financial Assistance Branch
Ministry of Colleges and Universities
PO Box 4500
189 Red River Road, 4th Floor
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7B 6G9
Part-Time Students (2023-24)Application Form
Due Date – Must be received by your school’s financial aid office or the ministry no later than 40 -60 days before the end of your study period.
Ontario Students – Send to your school’s financial aid office
Students outside of Ontario – Mail to:
Student Financial Assistance Branch
Ministry of Colleges and Universities
PO Box 4500
189 Red River Road, 4th Floor
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7B 6G9
Micro-credentials (2023-24)Application Form
Due Date – Must be received by your school’s financial aid office no later than the last day of your study period.
Send To – Send to the financial aid office of the school you’ll be attending.

When To Apply For The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

Depending on what kind of program students are applying for (full-time, part-time, or micro-credential), there are different timelines for them to follow when applying for OSAP.

If a student is studying full-time or part-time for a study period lasting 21 weeks or more, they must submit their OSAP application no less than 60 days before the end of the study period (i.e. before classes end)

Students studying part-time for 20 weeks or less must submit their OSAP application no less than 40 days before the end of the study period.

Students pursuing micro-credential programs must submit their OSAP application by the end of the study period.

Need help paying off your student loan? Check out the student loan repayment assistance program.

How Will You Receive Your OSAP Funding?

The National Student Loans Service Centre will deposit your OSAP funds directly into your bank account. You should receive your funds three to six weeks after you have submitted your OSAP application, which is how long it takes for your application to be reviewed. 

When you receive your OSAP funds depends on what kind of program a student is enrolled in. 

  • Full-time and part-time students usually get one of two installments paid at the beginning of their study period and the second installment paid halfway through their studies. 
  • Students in micro-credential programs will usually receive their money in one installment, which can be issued up to 15 business days after the end of their study period.

How To Check The Status Of Your OSAP Funds?

Students can verify the status of their payments on their OSAP account. The status of their payments may be one of the following

ReleasedThe money has been added to their bank account.
Ready to be releasedThe money is ready to be added to their bank account and will show up in their account around the listed “Estimated date”.
Confirmation of enrolment requiredStudents must wait to start classes so their school can confirm that they are enrolled in classes. Once the school has done so, students will receive their funds.
On holdThe funds are not yet ready to be released, and more information may be required.
For example, the student’s application may still be under review, or they have not submitted all the required documentation.
No loan optionThe student has chosen only to receive grants and not loans. They can change their mind, but there is a deadline to do so. Contact OSAP to learn more about this deadline.

Bottom Line

The Ontario Student Assistance Program helps full-time, part-time, and micro-credential program students in Ontario fund their post-secondary education. Students can receive grants, which they do not need to pay back, and loans, which they do need to pay back. Students can apply for the OSAP online or through their institution’s financial aid office. After applying with all of the necessary documentation, it can take four to six weeks for students to receive their funds in their bank account.

OSAP Application FAQs

What happens if I don’t get approved for OSAP?

There are numerous reasons you may be rejected for OSAP, from not meeting the eligibility requirements to not maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Here is a list of reasons you may be denied OSAP. If you’d like to appeal your rejection, contact the school’s financial aid office for more information.

Can I cancel my OSAP application?

Yes, you can cancel your OSAP application. If you want to cancel it, you can do so by contacting your financial aid office or online through your OSAP account.

Can I request a funding review of the OSAP?

Yes, you can request a funding review. The purpose of a funding review is to reconsider the amount of funding a student will receive. Full-time and part-time students must submit their review request no later than 40 days before the end of their study period. Micro-credential program students must submit their request no later than five days after the end of their study period.

What is the OSAP application deadline?

The deadline for OSAP can vary from school to school as the application must be submitted to your school’s financial aid office. The general deadlines are as follows:
  • Students studying for 21 weeks or more, at least 60 days before the end of the study period.
  • Students studying for 20 weeks or less, at least 40 days before the end of the study period.
  • Students in micro-credential programs must submit their OSAP application by the end of the study period.
Matthew Taylor avatar on Loans Canada
Matthew Taylor

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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