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.
You may be eligible for OSAP if you meet all of the following criteria:
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.
A student may be eligible for Part-time OSAP if they meet with following criteria:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 of your loan is required if you have:
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.
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.
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:
Please note that a borrower cannot receive both a Canada Student Loan and a Canada Apprenticeship Loan for the same technical training.
To be eligible for a Canada Apprenticeship Loan, the apprentice must meet EACH of the following conditions:
Confirmation of enrolment in technical training is required for disbursement of funding to eligible apprentices.
Apprentices may apply online or complete and mail a paper application to Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC).
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:
Registered apprentices are not required to make payments on their loan(s) and no interest will accrue if they:
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 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
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:
Examples of situations that do not qualify for the Bursary for Exceptional Circumstances include:
To be eligible for this bursary you must:
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
firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation.
Below are additional resources which may be of assistance if you are facing hardship.