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

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

Written by Matthew Taylor
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated November 4, 2021

The costs associated with post-secondary education can really 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 offers grants and loans to pay for further education after high school. Students do not need to pay back grants, but they do have to pay back student loans. 

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

Students can apply for OSAP online or through a financial aid office. Online applications are accepted earlier than paper applications made through a financial aid office.

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

How To Apply For OSAP

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, contact information, Social Insurance Number, and Ontario Education Number.

Step 2. Start Your OSAP Application

The next step is to complete your OSAP application. It usually takes less than 15 minutes. You will need information about your school and program, your Social Insurance Number, your spouse’s or parents’ Social Insurance Numbers, and tax information for your spouse, parents, and yourself. 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)

Once you’ve submitted your OSAP application, you must submit 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.

The National Student Loans Service Centre will send you an email when you need to register for an online account and submit an MSFAA if you’re a full-time or part-time student. If you’re a student in a micro-credential program, you don’t need an MSFAA since student loans for these programs are provided by Ontario only, not the federal government. You will need to complete a Micro-Credential Student Loan Agreement for each program application you submit.

Step 5. Upload Your Additional Documents

You may also need to upload additional documents to your OSAP application, including 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

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 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 four 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. Their funds may be issued up to five business days before the end of their study period. 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.

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

  • Released: The money has been added to their bank account.
  • Ready to be released: The 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 required: Students 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 hold: The 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 option: The 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.

Check out these tax credits and deductions for students.

OSAP Application FAQs

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 that a student will receive. You would request a funding review for several reasons, including when you are facing unexpected financial difficulties or are struggling academically for reasons beyond your control. If you need a funding review, you must submit your request to your financial aid office no later than 40 days before the end of your study period if you are a full-time or part-time student. If you are in a micro-credential program, you must submit your request no later than five days after the end of your study period.

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 submitting an application and all of the necessary documentation, it can take four to six weeks for students to receive their funds in their bank account.

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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 In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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