Ontario Residents, Financial Aid, OSAP (and UTAPS!)

If you’re an Ontario resident looking for financial assistance for the year ahead, you’ll want to know what OSAP is and you’ll want to apply for it by mid-June.

What is it?
OSAP – the Ontario Student Assistance program – offers loans (which are interest-free while you’re a full-time student) and grants (which you don’t have to pay back), both of which help pay for your education if you can’t cover it all. You can find out more and see a loan calculator here

How much $$?
The maximum loan for a single student is $390.00 per week for the 34 weeks of the Fall/Winter session. Married or common law students and sole-support parents can get a maximum of $660.00 per week. OSAP grants can reduce your loan or top it up.

What to do first
Before filling out the OSAP application, try out the Aid Estimator on the OSAP website. It calculates how much financial assistance you are likely to get as a loan and as grants such as the Ontario Access Grant, or the Canada grants for persons from middle-income families, or for persons from low-income families or persons with permanent disabilities.

You apply for OSAP online. You start by registering for your OSAP Access Number, which you’ll use to log into your OSAP account along with the password you create.

The application asks for specific but straightforward information.

Two details to watch out for
One: Partway through the application, you’ll be asked for your Ontario Education Number. You can get your OEN from your high school or board of education.

Two: Toward the end of the application, there’s a button inviting you to redirect your tuition to your academic institution. U of T doesn’t use this, even if you hit the button.

Once you’ve filled out the OSAP application, you will be asked to print or save at least three documents.

The system may ask you to fill out additional documents, but everyone gets a Declaration Form for themselves and one for their parents or guardians or spouse. You need to mail or deliver these documents to Enrolment Services at U of T.

The last document you get is your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement or MSFAA. This agreement lasts for your entire career as a student. You have to deliver the completed MSFAA to a designated Canada Post outlet in person and show the clerk your SIN card and a government-issued photo ID.

Canada Post forwards your MSFAA to the National Student Loans Service Centre and this Centre deposits your OSAP funds in your bank account once school starts.

When do I hear back?
If you apply by mid-June, you should know the results by mid-August. You can follow the process online using the “check status” link.

You get your OSAP money once school has started.

Paying tuition
Your tuition is due by the registration deadline in mid-August. If you are not able to make your minimum payment (i.e. the total amount of your Fall fees) but you’re eligible to receive OSAP, you can officially defer your fees on ACORN. Before the mid-August deadline, go to the “Financial Accounts” section and click the “OSAP” link to defer your tuition and not lose your courses.

You will pay your tuition once the first instalment of your OSAP appears in your bank account.

More on paying tuition in an upcoming video

What is UTAPS?
Finally, if you receive maximum OSAP and still have unmet financial need according to your student loan assessment, you may be eligible for funding from UTAPS or the University of Toronto Advanced Planning for Students program. If you’re an Ontario resident, no application is required. You will be considered automatically for UTAPS.

Like the OSAP Aid Estimator, you can use the UTAPS Online Estimator to see if you’re eligible.

Unexpected financial difficulties?

If you run into financial difficulties in the year ahead, it’s good to know that your college registrar’s office can provide financial aid advice.

Furthermore, all the colleges can offer emergency financial help throughout the academic year.

Looking ahead . . .
All of the colleges, as well as the FAS, have awards that combine
· academic achievement + financial need
· co-curricular involvement/leadership + financial need

These awards are usually decided at the end of the academic session.