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How to Apply for Student Loans in Ontario

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    onsidering studying further? While you explore your options of enrolling in a trending online diploma program, student loan and its eligibility form a major part of your search. You must be worried about how to pay for your education in Canada and what type of financial aid is available to you once you make your decision to take up an online diploma program. 

    Being in Ontario gives you access to various resources to continue your education. To cover the rising post-secondary education costs and help you manage your expenses while you study, the government offers student loans to many full-time and part-time students through the Canada Student Loans Program. However, it requires you to prove that you are in financial need. There are various provisions per province for both full-time and part-time students that you can avail of to cover your educational costs. 

    Applying for an Alberta student loan is different from getting a student loan in Ontario. In Ontario, the Government of Canada works together with the provincial government to provide Integrated Student Loans. You need to apply through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). Effective April 2021, the Government of Canada has suspended the accumulation of interest on Canada Student Loans until March 31, 2023.

    In this blog, we’ll explore everything about student loans in Ontario. We’ll find answers to some common questions that include:

    • What is OSAP?
    • What does OSAP cover? 
    • Who is eligible to apply under OSAP?
    • How much will I get under OSAP?
    • How to apply for OSAP?
    • What happens after I apply?
    • Other resources 

    Let’s dive deeper into each topic. 

    What is OSAP?

    The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a financial aid program that aids your education by letting you avail student loans and grants while you study at designated colleges or universities in Ontario. OSAP is the main channel of funding for students pursuing post-secondary education in Ontario. 

    You can apply for either grants (an amount that you don’t repay) or student loans (an amount that you have to repay once you are done with your studies).

    You’ll be automatically considered for both grants and a student loan when you apply for OSAP. You may also decline your application after it has been approved as a full-time or a part-time student if you don’t want to take out a loan. 

    What does OSAP cover? 

    Once you’ve applied for OSAP, you are likely to manage the costs for the following during your study period: 

    • Tuition fees
    • School supplies: Books, laptop, and equipment
    • Any compulsory school fees 
    • Living expenses (full-time students only) such as rent, groceries, transportation, and healthcare
    • Child care (for both full-time and part-time students who have kids)

    You can utilize the OSAP funding toward paying the above-mentioned expenses. 

    Who is Eligible For OSAP?

    If you’d like to apply for OSAP, you must fulfill the following eligibility requirements, which depend on your immigration status, your income, and your ties to the province of Ontario. 

    OSAP accepts applications from Ontario residents of any age who are:

    You may not be eligible for OSAP in the following situations if you: 

    • Are not an Ontario resident
    • Are on study permit in Canada as an international student
    • Don’t meet the academic progress requirements
    • Have saved enough money, including through other government aid, to cover your OSAP-allowed expenses
    • Indicate income on your OSAP application that differs noticeably from that which you disclosed to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
    • Failed to repay a student loan
    • Possess multiple unpaid overdrafts on loans or grants, or both
    • Have an unsuccessful credit check
    • Have exhausted your lifetime student loan funds (340 weeks of funding, 400 weeks of funding for doctoral studies, up to 520 weeks of funding for students with disabilities)
    • Have filed a consumer petition, filed for bankruptcy, a consolidation order, or a document requesting relief for the orderly payment of debts 

    In all of these cases, you will not be considered eligible for OSAP. Please do your due diligence before submitting your application. However, you may want to check your eligibility for financial aid from your college

    Income Requirements
    To apply for OSAP, you must be able to show that you don’t have enough funds to pay for your educational costs. You’ll have to submit your income proof with documents showing your income that you reported to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when you filed your taxes. You must also meet some other requirements related to your income to be eligible for receiving the OSAP funding.

    How Much Will I Get Under OSAP? 

    The amount of money that you may get under OSAP depends on your program, income, and family information.

    The amount of funds you can receive under OSAP is determined by the following factors:

    • Education expenses – money required for tuition, books, child care (for full-time and part-time students), personal living expenses (full-time students), supplies and equipment
    • Program hours – this is applicable to students in micro-credential programs only
    • Course load – the amount will differ for full-time or part-time students
    • Personal financial situation – your income, your family’s income, number of family members, any dependants, and other considerations

    You may also draw money from your Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as it will not impact your funds that you’ll get from OSAP. 

    There’s a provision for additional funding for Indigenous people, youth in or from Extended Society Care, and a person with a disability. You may check the additional funding criteria here

    Also, if you receive any social assistance, you will have to disclose the amount on your OSAP application. If you’d like to get an estimate of the amount that you’ll get, you can use this online calculator to check how much money you are likely to receive under OSAP. 

    How to Apply for OSAP? 

    It is recommended that you apply for OSAP at least 10 weeks before your study period begins. You should keep checking the latest deadlines and follow the simple steps to fill out your application form and submit it for processing.  

    Here are the steps to apply:

    • Register yourself online for creating an OSAP account
    • Apply for OSAP by filling out forms online
    • Submit your application
    • Get an estimate of the funds that you’ll get
    • Complete the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) - full time or part time, if required. You have to complete this lifetime agreement only once
    • Add your signatures and upload your declaration forms
    • Keep checking for updates in your OSAP account regularly

    These steps will guide you through the application process for OSAP. You may also consult your college for assistance with filing your application. 

    What Happens After I Apply? 

    It’s good to know the process after you apply for OSAP. You must keep checking your account for any updates and act accordingly. If any additional information is required from your side, you want to know the status of your application, or your school needs to provide any details - all this can be taken care of by accessing your account from time to time. 

    Cases of application cancelling and reassessing can also be addressed through the process. 

    Other Resources

    While OSAP is the flagship program in Ontario for educational funding, you may like to explore other resources as well that might help you to pay your educational expenses and make your learning journey smooth. These include: 

    • Financial aid from school/college: check for any bursaries, scholarships, work-study programs, or summer jobs. 
    • Scholarships and bursaries: you may explore the options at StudentAwards,, and Ontario Graduate Scholarship.
    • Emergency loans: you can apply for short-term loans through your school too if the OSAP amount is delayed.
    • Canada student loans and grants: you may seek grants or loans from the federal government under their eligible schemes
    • Bank Credit: various banks and financial institutions offer loans to students at low interest rates. 
    • Self-funding: this is another option to go for. You can work simultaneously and save some money to fund your education, or you can also combine this mode with other resources.  

    We believe the elaborative details that we have shared with you are helpful in resolving your queries about how to apply for student loans in Ontario. 

    For more information on ABM College’s Business, Technology, and Healthcare programs that we offer in Ontario and are eligible for 100% OSAP funding, contact us today. 

    You may also visit our blog for trending employment tips. 

    Picture credits:

    A student writing on their notebook.

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