The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a government-funded financial aid program that offers support to students pursuing post-secondary education. The funding available is made up of grants (money students don’t need to pay back) and loans (money students need to pay back) and is dependent on financial need.
In January, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced changes to OSAP, coming into effect for the 2019-2020 academic year. Here are some of the major changes.
Tuition rates will be lowered by 10 per cent for 2019-2020 and frozen for 2020-2021. The Student Choice Initiative will be introduced, allowing students to opt out of some non-essential ancillary fees. (fees imposed or administered by a given institution for a service or product, in addition to regular tuition fees) The definition of an independent student will change from four years out of school to six years out of school. With this change, parental income will be factored into the OSAP needs assessment for dependent students based on the new definition. Interest will now be charged on the provincial portion of loans during the six-month grace period after graduation or leaving full-time studies.
There are other changes to OSAP and you are encouraged to visit ontario.ca/page/osap-ontario-student-assistance-program to learn more. You can also contact the institution’s Financial Aid office to help navigate these changes or for help with the application process. Applications will open in early spring for the 2019-2020 school year. An OSAP calculator is available online to provide an estimate of how much funding students may be entitled to.