OSAP & aid

OSAP information

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a combination of federal and provincial loans and grants that can assist students in financial need by helping them meet the costs associated with post-secondary education.

The purpose of OSAP is to supplement your resources, not to replace the financial resources that you (and your family, if applicable) are expected to contribute towards basic educational costs (tuition, books, supplies) and living allowance (food, shelter, etc.). 

Assistance is based on financial need as determined by the federal and provincial government through an assessment of your OSAP application form.

Full-time OSAP

You may be eligible for OSAP if you meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or Protected Person
  2. Ontario resident (have lived in Ontario for 12 months prior to commencing your post-secondary education). Please note that if you have lived in Canada for less than twelve months you may be eligible for OSAP under appeal.
  3. Enrolled in an OSAP-approved program.
  4. Maintained satisfactory academic progress
  5. Any previous government-issued student loans are in good standing
  6. Any previous loan overpayments or bursary overawards are cleared

You can submit multiple applications for different schools for the same study period. You cannot submit multiple applications for the same school. If you do end up applying to multiple schools, you will need to close the applications that you are not going to use as no funds will be issued until you only have one active account. You can close applications any time before funds are issued by logging on to your OSAP portal and closing the account yourself, or you can contact the Financial Aid Office and request the application be closed on your behalf.

If you are still unsure of what program you are interested in, contact the Conestoga College Career Centre to go over your options. Once you have narrowed your choices down to the programs in which you are most interested, you may contact the Financial Aid Office for the financial assistance details particular to each program.

Part-time OSAP

A student may be eligible for Part-time OSAP if they meet with following criteria:

  • Registered in an OSAP-eligible program. To determine if your program qualifies for OSAP, please email financialaid@conestogac.on.ca with the subject line “Part-time OSAP”.
  • Registered with a course load of between 20 to 59 per cent. If you are a student with a documented disability your required course load would be between 20 to 39 per cent.
  • Student who is not currently receiving full-time OSAP funding

Application steps

  1. Log on to the OSAP website https://osap.gov.on.ca
  2. If you have never applied for OSAP register as a new user
  3. Select Part-time application
  4. Complete application and submit
  5. Submit all required documents to Student Financial Services

Note:

  • At this time, students are required to pay for their courses up front. You cannot defer your fees for part-time courses. For other payment arrangement details, go to: Admissions - Paying Your Fees.

Part-time or full-time OSAP application

OSAP classifies a student as full-time if they are taking at least 60 per cent of a full-time course load (40 per cent for students registered with a permanent disability).
If you are pursuing a full-time OSAP eligible program on a part-time basis (20 to 59 per cent course load), you may qualify for a Part-time Student Loan. If you have a permanent disability with a course load between 40 per cent and 59 per cent, it is usually better to apply for Full-time OSAP in order to maximize your grant funding. More information can be found at https://osap.gov.on.ca.

Determining course load

Most full-time students take a 100 per cent course load, as they enrol in all the courses offered for each level of the program. You may decide to not take certain courses if you have been exempted from them, are registered with a permanent disability or want a lighter course load, etc. You can estimate your course load on the OSAP application, as that can be adjusted later by our office.

For further clarification you would contact your program coordinator.

The best way to apply for OSAP is online. The application is scheduled to be released mid-April for the upcoming academic year. You can also use a paper application, which is available to download at the above website in the “Forms” section.

There is no cost for applying for OSAP and you can apply before accepting the program as long as the OSAP application is posted at that time.

Step 1: Register online, then apply

You are required to register to receive your OSAP Access Number (OAN) and to create a password. Keep you OAN and password safe as these numbers will be active for your lifetime.

Step 2: Complete the OSAP application

Fill out the OSAP application. When your application is complete, hit submit and print all of your required supporting documents. Depending on your situation, supporting documents may include: personal, parental, or spousal signature pages, supporting document cover sheet and master student financial aid agreement.

For paper applications, submit your supporting documents directly to Student Financial Services in person or by mail.

Please note:

  • You must provide consent allowing us to release any information related to your OSAP file to any third party. Complete this section in your profile. We will not release information without your authorization.
  • Parental income is considered for dependent students: those out of high school less than four years or those out of education completely for at least two calendar years.
  • If the online search function does not locate your program you may manually enter your program information. We will then update your application with the relevant program information.
  • Photocopy your documents for your records.
  • If you experience difficulties with your application, or if you need to return at a later point to continue, you may save and exit your application online. We are available to answer any questions about the application process. You may speak to us in person or via telephone at 519-748-5220 ext. 3378.

Step 3: Forward documents to Student Financial Services

To submit your documentation, mail in or drop off your signature pages and all required supporting documents (except for the Master Student Financial Aid Agreement) to the Conestoga College Student Financial Services, 299 Doon Valley Dr., Kitchener, ON N2G 4M4. Faxed copies of any documents requiring your signature will not be accepted. You will be notified if any further documentation is required via email or mail.

Step 4: Register with NSLSC and complete your MSFAA

The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement is your loan agreement for OSAP. You only need to complete it the first time you apply for OSAP. It will remain valid unless there is a break in your studies.

Starting in May 2018, there is a new online process to submit your form.

  • You will receive a welcome email from the National Student Loans Service Center (NSLSC) after you submit your OSAP application
  • The NSLSC is the company that administers your OSAP loans
  • The email will be from an address similar to: info@msfaa-emafe.cibletudes-canlearn.ca with a subject line like: “Register now to set up your online account”
  • If you do not receive your email after applying for OSAP, check your spam folder. Also make sure you have verified your email with OSAP
  • Visit canlearn.ca and register online with the (NSLSC) using your 10 digit MSFAA number
  • You will find the number on the ‘Required Documents’ page of the OSAP website
  • Complete the online MSFAA on the NSLSC website and accept the terms and conditions
  • It may take one to two weeks to process the MSFAA. You cannot receive any OSAP funding until the MSFAA is complete

Step 5: Confirmation of enrolment

Conestoga College will confirm your enrolment for each OSAP payment. For most students this will happen at the beginning of their studies (e.g. September) and then again halfway through their study period (e.g. January).

For information about your OSAP payments and funding, log on to your  OSAP account and select the “Check Status” section.

Application deadline

The deadline to apply for OSAP is 60 days prior to the end of your study period. Supporting documentation and/or appeal documentation must be submitted within 40 days prior to the end of your study period. Late submissions cannot be accepted.

You should apply for OSAP as early as possible to allow us time to ensure all supporting documentation is complete and submitted. We will also work through any appeals or reviews for which you may be eligible.

Reapplying for OSAP

You will need to reapply for OSAP each year if you require financial assistance. The application is updated every year and posted on the OSAP website around mid-April (for the next September-August period).

All students are required to pay a $250 non-refundable tuition deposit each academic year to secure a place in a program. For more information, visit Payments & invoicing.

When submitting your OSAP application online, the system will provide you with an estimate of funding based on the information you have submitted. Please note that this is an estimate only and can change throughout your study period based on adjustments to your situation and/or verifications that the ministry performs.

The ministry will check:

  • SIN with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Income verification with the Canada Revenue Agency throughout the academic year to ensure the financial information provided by you (and your family if applicable) is consistent with the information contained within the relevant income tax return(s).
  • Credit history (if you are 22 years or older)

OSAP application status

You can check your status through the “check status” link on your OSAP online account once you log in. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will send you a Notice of Assessment/Reassessment via mail or email when your funding eligibility has been decided.

Incomplete application

You can check to see if you are missing required documentation through the “check status” link on your OSAP online account. You can clarify this information if needed with our Financial Aid Officers.

If you have provided documentation and it is not satisfactory to meet all the requirements for OSAP, we will then send you a notice with the necessary details (through paper mail or email, depending on what preference you selected for your OSAP correspondence).

Your OSAP application

Once you have submitted your OSAP application online, it takes approximately two business days for the application to show up electronically on our computer systems. We only see the assessment once the application has been processed by the Ministry. We do not see the preliminary estimate that you see on the OSAP website.

If you need to make changes to your OSAP application after it has been submitted, please contact Student Financial Services in writing. Supporting documentation may be required, depending on the requested change.

Notice of assessment entitlement changes

A change on your OSAP application information can increase or decrease your entitlement, even if you have already received your full original entitlement. A number of validation checks, such as income and asset information, can cause a reassessment. You must notify the Financial Aid Office throughout your study period if you have any income changes. A drop in your course load, or an early withdrawal may also change your eligibility.

Changes, review and appeal

If you need to make a change, or do not think that your OSAP assessment is sufficient to fund your post-secondary education, you may view the forms available on the OSAP forms site. Please contact Student Financial Services or visit our office in the Welcome Centre, Doon campus if you have further questions or concerns.

All completed OSAP forms should be uploaded on the OSAP website, mailed via Canada Post, or dropped off in person at our office.

Note: Uploading your forms on the OSAP website will result in the fastest processing time.

Forms

For a list of common update or appeal forms, please visit the forms site on the OSAP website. If you cannot find the form you need for your circumstance, please contact Student Financial Services for assistance.

Some common OSAP forms: 

  • Update/Add Parental or Spousal Information
  • Adjust living allowance
  • Adjust local travel
  • Request to use Parent's Estimated Income
  • Request to use Spouse's Estimated income
  • Residency Review
  • Income Verification for Non-taxable or Foreign income

Application updates

  • Email Student Financial Services for the following changes:
  • Change in Status (Married or Common-law)
  • Change in Status (Sole-Support Parent or Single Independent Student)

Restriction reviews and processes

  • Credit Check Review
  • Academic Probation Review
    Requirements: Letter explaining why you were unsuccessful in your previous studies, what steps you will take this year to ensure success, and what your academic and career goals are
  • Academic (1 year) Restriction Review
    Requirements: After serving the one year penalty period submit a letter explaining why you were unsuccessful in your previous studies, what steps you will take this year to ensure success. You must also state your academic and career goals. include a letter from the National Student Loans Service Centre stating that your loans are in good standing. Include a student transcript from your previous studies if you did not attend Conestoga College
  • Loan Overpayment Review
    Requirements: A copy of your Loan Account Statement showing that you have paid the overpayment back to the National Student Loans Service Centre
  • Provincial Loan Default Restriction
    Requirements: Contact the Ontario Collection Management Unit at 1-800-387-5604
  • Federal Loan Default Restriction
    Requirements: Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514 and ask to be connected to the Canada Student Loan Program

Income changes*

Earnings 

  • It is very important to keep your OSAP file up-to-date. Not updating your income information can impact your grant funding and future eligibility for OSAP support.
  • You can adjust your earnings through the Income Update link on your OSAP account part-way through your study period; or at any time by providing the Financial Aid Office with a letter or email asking us to adjust your income. Our office would need the amount of your income, the time period for that income, and where that income is coming from (i.e. government funding, employment, scholarships etc.) to confirm the update.

*Please note that Conestoga College reports all bursaries scholarships and awards that we process to OSAP. You only need to report awards that are received from an external source. If you are unsure on which awards you need to report, please contact our Awards Office at awards@conestogac.on.ca

Parental income

If you are fewer than four years out of high school you are considered a dependent, so the income for your parent(s) is required to complete your application. OSAP will not let you submit your application without that information.

New for 2019-20: The provincial government now views students as independent if they have been out of high school for at least six years. If you have been out of high school for four years and do not want to report your parent's income, then you may ask for federal-only funding.

Family breakdown

If a serious and permanent family breakdown has occurred and you file a Family Breakdown Appeal, you are considered independent for OSAP purposes and no parental information is required. You will indicate that your parental information is not available when you complete your OSAP application. OSAP will then inform you of the supporting documentation that is required. Please upload all your supporting information on the OSAP website.

Interaction with other forms of government support

If you are in receipt of ODSP support, or if your spouse or common-law partner is in receipt of ODSP support, OSAP will cover only your direct educational costs, including tuition, compulsory fees, books, supplies, equipment and local travel costs. This calculation will be done automatically when you apply for OSAP.

In most cases, if you are receiving support through Ontario Works they will stop providing support and you will be eligible for full OSAP funding. Please talk to your Ontario Works caseworker for more information.

If you are receiving Second Career, or CPP support, you will must declare it as income on your OSAP application. OSAP can act as a "top-up" in these cases if the OSAP calculation deems that more support is required.

Add a summer session or change a study period or program

  • Use this form if you are changing programs or have withdrawn and want to come back in the next semester.
  • The form can also be used if you have been receiving OSAP in the winter semester and want to add the summer semester study period.
  • Submit an OSAP Application Update Change to Study Period of Program form, available on the OSAP forms page.
  • Further information is available in the Student Financial Office located in the Welcome Centre at Doon campus.

Academic probation notice for OSAP

Students are required to satisfactorily complete the academic requirements of their program to continue to be eligible for financial assistance. That means a student must achieve passing grades, as defined by the institution, in the minimum required course load (at least 60 per cent of a full course load, or 40 per cent for students registered with a permanent disability).

Students are also expected to progress through the different years of the program of study while studying in a multi-year program. Frequent or multiple program switches, drops, withdrawals, and/or multiple repeats of a program, which are funded by OSAP, also may be considered lack of progress and lack of academic direction on the part of the student.

Students who do not meet the criteria may be placed on OSAP probation and/or restriction from receiving any additional funding from any OSAP programs.

Documentation required for academic probation restriction:

  • You must write a letter outlining your request for further OSAP consideration including: what caused the restriction, what you have been doing since the restriction, what your new academic goals are and how you are working to make those goals successful.
  • A completed and finalized OSAP application for the next academic year.
  • A copy of your official transcript (if your probation is associated with studies at another institution within the last two years).
  • Supporting documentation that is relevant in support of issues associated with your poor academic standing (if appealing the restriction).
  • All the same documentation as listed above, as well as proof that any outstanding student loans are in good standing. Contact the National Student Loan Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514 and ask them to fax proof directly to our office (519-748-6364).

Loan overpayment

If there is a discrepancy between the income reported to OSAP and the income information received from Canada Revenue Agency or the time that you were enrolled, your application will be reassessed using the Canada Revenue Agency information. As a result, your eligibility and the amount of assistance you are eligible to receive may change.

If you are only overpaid in one academic year, you have two options:

  1. You may repay the overpayment to the National Student Loan Service Centre. If you repay the overpayment, please provide our office with your receipt that it has been paid. Our office will update your file and the overpayment will be removed from your account.
  2. You may leave the overpayment on your account. If you are overpaid in one year, OSAP allows for the first overpayment to be exempt. If you choose not to repay your first overpayment, future OSAP funding will not be affected. If a second overpayment occurs in a subsequent academic year, the second overpayment will have to be paid before any further funding is issued.

Income variance

If the ministry determines that there is a significant variance between the income information reported to OSAP and the income information received from Canada Revenue Agency, you will not be eligible for any further assistance from OSAP for up to five years. The Ministry will send you a letter requesting an explanation of the amount and source of your income. It will use this information to conduct a review to determine if you are eligible for further assistance. It is important to note that if there is a significant variance between the income reported to OSAP and the amount reported to Canada Revenue Agency, you may be subject to further investigation and possible legal action.

Previous loan restrictions

If you have defaulted on payments of previous loans and now have a restriction, you may need to contact the following offices for further information:
Provincial Restriction- (Ontario Shared Services) 1-800-387-5604
Federal Restriction- (National Student Loan Service Centre) 1-888-815-4514

Our goal is to ensure your OSAP funding arrives within the first few days of classes. To receive your OSAP funding you must be registered as a student and have a complete OSAP application. Make sure your deposit is paid on time and that you are registered in your program. Also check the OSAP website to make sure there are no outstanding document requirements on your account.

Confirmation of enrolment

If there are no items outstanding and the status on your OSAP account reads 'Confirmation of Enrolment' that means that OSAP is waiting for the college to confirm your enrolment. This is an electronic process; no further action is required from you. The confirmation of enrolment process starts about a week before the beginning of each term. After your confirmation is complete, the National Student Loan Service Centre releases the funding within five to 10 business days. 

Release of OSAP funds and remitting fees

Please monitor your student account in the Student Portal via the 'Financial' tab. You can view the amount of OSAP available to pay your fees on your Student Portal. You can view your OSAP funding amounts on the OSAP website. If the amount of OSAP in the Student Portal does not seem correct, please email financialaid@conestogac.on.ca.

OSAP will automatically remit fees to the college when we confirm your enrolment. The funds can take about two weeks to appear on your student account.

Grant only funding:  Your Student Portal shows the total amount of OSAP available to pay your fees. If you select to receive only the grant portion of your OSAP funding, then you are responsible for calculating the difference and paying the amount owing before the due date. If you do not pay the difference by the due date, you will be subject to a late fee.

If you have more OSAP funding than is required to pay your fees, the remainder will go directly to your bank account. You should receive your funding at about the same time the college receives the money to pay your fees. You may see different amounts deposited on different days because loans and grants often come in separate installments. 

Late payments

Your fees will not be paid if your OSAP is not finalized, so make sure you have completed all the steps and submitted all your documentation on time. We recommend you complete the OSAP application and submit all documentation at least six to eight weeks before the start of your study period. If your OSAP assessment is not enough to cover all your fees, then you must make sure that you pay the difference by the fee due date. If the full amount of your fees are not paid by the due date, you will be assessed a late fee. Visit the Fees & Payment website for payment deadlines. 

Repayment

Repayment of your loan is required if you have:

  • graduated from your studies,
  • withdrawn from school,
  • transferred to part-time studies, or
  • taken a leave of absence for more than six months.

For the first six months following your program end date, you will not have to make payments on your student loan, however, interest will accumulate on the federal portion of your loan during this period. This is known as your six month grace period.

During your six months grace period, the National Student Loan Service Centre will contact you to set up repayment arrangements. Starting payments early, or paying more than the minimum can save you money. If you have questions, you may contact the NSLSC at: 1-888-815-4514.

Interest-free status for previous loans

If you are a full-time college student who is not receiving OSAP, or you are on an official co-op work term, you may complete an application for continuation of the interest-free status to keep your prior loan(s) interest and payment free. 

You can apply for interest-free status by logging in to your account on the OSAP website. There are also paper forms available at the Financial Aid Office. You must submit your application during your study period. Forms cannot be processed once your study period, or co-op period, has ended.

Tracking your loans

  • Register with the National Student Loan Service Centre.
  • Check the status of your loan and update your contact information online.

Trouble with your payments?

There is help available and it is easy to apply for assistance online. Go to the Canlearn or OSAP websites and search for Repayment Assistance Programs (RAP).

Other student aid

In 2014, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canada Apprenticeship Loan (CAL) to provide apprentices registered in Red Seal trades with interest-free loans to assist with the cost of technical training. This program is administered by the Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC) within the Department of Employment and Social Development.

Apprentices who are registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship program and meet the eligibility requirements for a CAL may receive:

  • Up to $4,000 in loans per period of technical training
  • Up to five funded periods of technical training
  • Up to six years of interest-free status

Please note that a borrower cannot receive both a Canada Student Loan and a Canada Apprenticeship Loan for the same technical training.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Canada Apprenticeship Loan, the apprentice must meet EACH of the following conditions:

  • Be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident or Protected Person
  • Be registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship program
  • Be enrolled in block release technical training or the equivalent full-time technical training with an approved technical training provider
  • Pass a credit check (required when applying for the first time).

Who is not eligible?

  • High school students (unless enrolled in adult learning/professional upgrading classes)
  • Apprentices receiving a Canada Student Loan for the same technical training
  • Apprentices who are restricted from receiving a Canada Apprentice Loan or a Canada Student Loan
  • Apprentices who have already received funding for five periods of technical training
  • Apprentices who have already received six years of interest-free status

Confirmation of enrolment

Confirmation of enrolment in technical training is required for disbursement of funding to eligible apprentices.

Applying for a Canada Apprentice Loan

Apprentices may apply online or complete and mail a paper application to Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC).

Online

  • Register for a CALSC Online Services account
  • Complete the application including banking information
  • Submit for CALSC assessment
  • Check application status and update your account profile

Paper

  • Download/print form
  • Complete application
  • Copy supporting documents (i.e. proof of SIN and government issued photo ID)
  • Mail to Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC).

Application deadlines

  • No earlier than 90 days before the apprentice starts technical training
  • No later than the last day the apprentice is enrolled in technical training

Disbursement of funds

After receiving confirmation of enrolment, funds will be disbursed directly to the eligible apprentices as early as the first day of their technical training.

Eligible apprentices can receive only one disbursement per technical training period:

  • Minimum of $500 and a maximum of $4,000
  • Amount is determined by applicant as per his/her financial need at the time of application

Loan maintenance

Registered apprentices are not required to make payments on their loan(s) and no interest will accrue if they:

  • are returning to technical training and are receiving CAL funding;
  • have their ongoing registration confirmed by their provincial/territorial apprenticeship office (whether returning to technical training or not).

If an apprentice does not confirm that he/she is still a registered apprentice in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship program by the apprenticeship end date, interest will begin to accrue on the loan and repayment will begin six months after this date.

The apprenticeship end date is 12 months following an apprentice's last funded technical training end date or the date his/her confirmation of ongoing registration was last confirmed.

Repayment

  • Repayment of a Canada Apprentice Loan will start when the apprentice:
    • has completed his/her Red Seal trade apprenticeship program
    • is no longer registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship program
    • did not confirm registration by the apprenticeship end date
    • has reached the lifetime maximum of six years of interest-free status
  • Interest will begin to accrue on the loan the day after the apprenticeship end date .
  • No payments are required for the first six months after the apprenticeship end date, although interest will accrue on the outstanding loan balance.
  • At the end of the six month non-repayment period, the borrower will be required to start making regular loan payments.
  • The apprentice will be notified before the loan enters repayment.
  • Interest Rates: Borrowers may choose between a variable (prime + 2.5%) or fixed (prime + 5%) interest rate.

Repayment Assistance: The Government of Canada offers repayment assistance options that may assist borrowers who are experiencing financial difficulty in repayment through the Repayment Assistance Plan

Bursary for Exceptional Circumstances

The Bursary for Exceptional Circumstances is intended to support students facing a financial emergency during their study period because of events beyond their control. This bursary is not intended to cover the entire cost of an emergency or replace insurance (health, tenants, automobile, or otherwise), but to assist students to recover from the emergency in the short-term.

A financial emergency is defined as a crisis which could not have reasonably been budgeted for during your current study period. Examples include:

  • sudden family breakdown because of mental, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or drug or alcohol addiction;
  • emergency medical conditions or events;
  • fire, theft, or accident; and
  • other extreme circumstances not foreseen by the student.

Examples of situations that do not qualify for the Bursary for Exceptional Circumstances include:

  • delay of OSAP funds;
  • poor budgeting resulting in a financial shortfall for routine costs such as rent, transportation, food, etc.; and
  • routine medical expenses not covered by your health insurance (i.e. over-the-counter medications, replacement glasses or contacts, etc.).

To be eligible for this bursary you must:

  • be a Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person;
  • have applied for OSAP (or other provincial student financial aid);
  • be enrolled in a full-time program;
    • Students with a disability may be studying at a reduced load;
  • be able to provide supporting documentation regarding your emergency; and
  • submit your application for assistance within 30 days of when the emergency occurred, and no later than 15 days before the end of your study period.

Students who are on a co-op term, completing an apprenticeship, or receiving Second Career Funding are not eligible to receive this bursary.

If you are facing a genuine financial emergency and meet the above criteria, please visit Student Financial Services in the Welcome Centre, Doon Campus (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or email us at awards@conestogac.on.ca to discuss your situation.

Additional resources

Below are additional resources which may be of assistance if you are facing hardship.

Conestoga resources

Off-campus resources