Ontario residents can apply for financial assistance through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). By filling out one OSAP application, you can have access to a large number of OSAP grants and loans depending on your status and circumstances.
Starting with your first work term, you will have to apply for OSAP for each term (including your work-term periods) for which you wish to request financial aid. Please refer to the OSAP renewal section.
How to apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
Find out if you are eligible
To be eligible for OSAP assistance, you must at least:
- be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a protected person and have the appropriate documentation to support this;
- be an Ontario resident as defined by OSAP;
- be enrolled in an approved program that is 12 or more weeks in length leading to a degree, certificate or diploma.
To be eligible for OSAP assistance for the Fall and Winter terms, you must:
- be admitted into an approved program that is at least 12 weeks in length.
To be eligible for OSAP assistance for the Spring/Summer term (May to mid-July), you must be enrolled in:
- at least nine course units over at least 12 weeks (May to mid-July) or;
- six units over seven weeks (May to June) if you received government financial aid at the University of Ottawa during the previous Winter.
If you’re taking your Spring/Summer courses at another institution, you must submit a new online OSAP application for that institution.
The following students, programs and courses do not qualify for OSAP assistance:
- Special students
- Additional qualification courses offered by the Faculty of Education (PED)
- Executive MBA program
- Graduate Diploma in Chartered Professional Accountancy
- Master of Business in Complex Project Leadership
- Certificat/Baccalauréat en éducation – Éducation technologique
- National Committee on Accreditation qualification
- Medical Enrichment year and Medical Post – Year 4
- Intensive second-language courses offered by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
Courses you take at another institution are admissible for OSAP assistance only if the courses will be credited towards your University of Ottawa degree. You must provide Financial Aid and Awards with a letter of permission from your faculty confirming that the courses will be credited towards your degree at uOttawa as well as confirmation of enrolment and payment.
Visit the OSAP website for the full list of eligibility requirements.
Gather preliminary information
Before applying for OSAP, be prepared to provide and have gathered together the following information:
- full name, date of birth and gender
- contact information and language preference
- legal and marital status
- dates you last attended high school or previously studied full time
- the university you plan on attending, including the campus location
- your student number, name of your program, your year of study, your degree level (bachelor’s or master’s, for example) and the date you’ll start your studies
- your anticipated course load, whether you’ll be doing correspondence or distance education and if you wish to self-identify as a student with a permanent disability
- details on any previous student loans or bankruptcy proceedings or related events
- income amount on your most recent tax return and an estimate of your total income for the upcoming year
- amount of any other income from employment, child support or alimony payments, monetary gifts, lottery winnings, government benefits, extended care and maintenance payments, RRSPs or RESPs, etc.
- amount of any income from external awards, scholarships, fellowships, bursaries and grants, investments or trust funds
Assets and ownership information:
- other assets such as bank account balances
Complete your application
Set aside a block of time to complete your application. You can either complete the online application by following the steps below or print and complete a paper application and send it to the University of Ottawa's Financial Aid and Awards Service.
1. Create an OSAP account.
Go to the OSAP website, select the Register icon and create an account. You'll be issued an OSAP access number and password. Be sure to note this information in a safe place so you can view and check on the progress of your application at another time.
2. Log in and follow the steps outlined in the online application form.
- All information is saved automatically and will not be lost.
- You can cancel your application at any time.
- The application is submitted only after you've had a chance to review your information and click on Submit.
3. Fill out and return your paperwork.
You can obtain most of the documents by printing them from the OSAP website. If you submit the documents on or before the deadline, you'll automatically be granted a grace period for paying your University of Ottawa tuition fees.
- You, your guardian or partner, if applicable, must sign the signature pages.
- You must upload your signature pages and all of your supporting documentation (like your proof of marital status, marriage certificate, proof of immigration or refugee status, proof of dependent children, proof of disability, academic progress letter) through the OSAP website. If there are any inaccuracies or missing information, we will contact you. Generally, this process can take from four to eight weeks.
- Log into your OSAP online account.
- Select Full-time Students Section.
- In the Action column, click Print/Upload.
New online Master Student Financial Aid Agreement process
Before the end of July, new OSAP recipients are required to complete a process to sign and submit the Master Student Financial Aid Agreement, which is a lifetime student loan agreement sponsored by the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC). If you are required to submit an MSFAA, it will be listed on the Required documents page of your online OSAP account, under Required documents (print/upload).
Two business days after you submit your online OSAP application, OSAP will post your MSFAA number and the MSFAA website address in your OSAP account. Simultaneously, the NSLSC will send you an email to welcome you and request that you register for an NSLSC online account and complete your MSFAA process online. You will need the MSFAA number posted in your OSAP account to complete the MSFAA process on the NSLSC website.
Additional information and forms for the Spring/Summer term
- You must submit a new OSAP application. Should your Spring/Summer term be less than 12 weeks in duration, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards Service.
- To advise OSAP of any changes in your situation for the Spring/Summer term, submit a completed OSAP Spring/Summer Modification Form.
Starting with your first work term, you must submit a separate OSAP application for each individual term (including your work terms) for which you wish to request financial aid.
4.Track the progress of your application
- Check the OSAP and Financial Aid and Awards websites regularly to check deadlines and track the progress of your application.
Loan amount calculations
You can use the OSAP Aid Estimator for Full-time Students to see approximately how much OSAP you’ll be entitled to. The amount of your loans is based entirely on your financial need, as calculated by OSAP. Under exceptional circumstances, students may appeal the loan amount. For information and to get the appeal forms, visit the OSAP website. You must submit your appeal forms to the University of Ottawa Financial Aid and Awards Service.
NEW — OSAP payments will automatically be applied to your university fees
As of September 2018, your OSAP funds will be transferred directly to the University of Ottawa to pay your university fees. This process is called “redirection”. The Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development (MASED) will send all or part of your OSAP funds directly to the University to pay your university fees on your behalf.
If your OSAP funding does not fully cover your university fees, you must pay the difference by the due date indicated in the Important academic dates and deadlines (this date may be different if you qualify for the grace period). For information on how to pay the balance of your fees, please see Payment of fees.
How do the funds get transferred?
MASED will ask uOttawa’s Financial Aid and Awards Service to confirm your enrolment. We will confirm your enrolment and let OSAP know how much money must be redirected to the University of Ottawa to pay your university fees. This information will then be transmitted to the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC), which will then direct your payment to the University.
When does this process begin?
This process begins at the earliest 15 days before the start of the term; therefore, we recommend that you complete your OSAP application, including all mandatory signature pages, by early July. This will ensure that you are eligible for the grace period and that you receive the fall installment of your OSAP funding in September.
Make sure that your uOttawa course selection matches your OSAP course load
To avoid delays, we strongly recommend that you check that your uOttawa course selection matches the OSAP course load you indicated on your OSAP application. If the two do not match, contact Financial Aid and Awards immediately to let us know that you have changed your course load: otherwise, your Confirmation of Enrolment will be delayed, which will delay your OSAP payment.
Where can I check how much OSAP funding has been redirected to the University?
This amount will be displayed in your Student Account. To view this information, log into uoZone. Under Applications, click Statement of Account. Then click on the OSAP net billing tab. Note that this function will only be available in late July 2018.
What if I have funds left over?
If there are any OSAP funds remaining after your fees have been paid, the remaining funds will be deposited into your bank account.
To continue receiving OSAP funding throughout your studies, you need to complete a new application each year. You'll need to update your personal information such as income, marital status and contact information at the same time. Failure to do so when submitting a new application can result in complications with your eligibility to receive future OSAP loans. Complete your new application online through the OSAP website using your OSAP access number and password. It can take from six to eight weeks to process your new application.
Starting with your first work term, you must submit a separate OSAP application for each individual term (including your work terms) for which you wish to request financial aid.
If you are an undergraduate student, note that your scholarships and bursaries are only payable when enrolled in a study term (no payment during work term).
If you have received OSAP assistance in the past, are attending university full time but are not going to receive OSAP assistance for this term, be sure to apply for a Continuation of Interest-Free Status by accessing your OSAP account online before the deadline. If you fail to do so, you will be required to start repaying your student loans even if you are still attending university.
If you received OSAP assistance in 2017-2018, check the study period start and end dates on your OSAP application. You don't need to submit a request for the Spring/Summer term if your application was assessed for the period ending in August. If your application wasn't assessed for the Spring/Summer term, you need to complete a new application for OSAP.
Keep your contact information, income information and any other information in your student file up to date
Update your personal information with OSAP and the Financial Aid and Awards Service every year. You must be sure to update your contact information, income and marital status if there are changes as they can have an impact on your loan situation.
Repay loan overpayments
A loan overpayment happens when you received funds that exceed your entitlement for that academic year. Situations that can lead to an OSAP overpayment include a change in your course load, marital status or income as well as correction of inaccurate information on your application such as your income or income of a parent or partner and withdrawing from your program. You'll be notified in writing if a loan overpayment occurs. You'll be asked to repay the full amount to the National Student Loan Service Centre. When making a payment, be sure to request a receipt and submit a copy to the Financial Aid and Awards Service.
Maintain a satisfactory academic standing
You must meet the academic requirements of your program in order to remain eligible for financial assistance. Switching programs multiple times, reducing your course load from full time to part time, withdrawing from courses or too many course failures constitutes unsatisfactory academic progress and could affect your future eligibility for financial aid. Each time you cancel or drop courses resulting in a change in course load or study period, your OSAP will be reassessed. This can result in a loan overpayment, which you must repay.
- If you withdraw from your studies or decide to attend another university before you receive your OSAP funds, you must advise the National Student Loan Service Centre. If you withdraw from university after receiving your funds but prior to attending any classes, you must reimburse the full amount advanced to you.
- If you withdraw from your program, you must inform the Financial Aid and Awards Service as soon as possible. The amount of your loans will be recalculated based on the number of weeks you attended university full time. Your interest-free status will be withdrawn and you'll be required to make arrangements to start repaying your outstanding loans within six months. If you return to school full time within that six month period, you must again notify the Financial Aid and Awards Service in order to stop interest from accruing on your loan balance.
- If you're temporarily ill or disabled, you may be exempt from the satisfactory academic standing policy for the period of your illness or disability. If you find yourself in one of these situations, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards Service to make an appointment with a counsellor to discuss your situation. Please provide the Financial Aid and Awards Service with a written explanation of your situation.
Other conditions for the Spring/Summer term
Once you've submitted your Spring/Summer OSAP application, it can be reassessed only once following the addition of any courses. Any other change will result in your Spring/Summer OSAP application being reassessed. You must submit a completed OSAP Spring/Summer Modification Form as soon as possible after adding or dropping any courses.
Be sure to advise Financial Aid and Awards of any change to your income by submitting a completed OSAP Spring/Summer Modification Form as quickly as possible following your income change.
Paying back your OSAP loans
You're required to begin making loan repayments six months after one of the following:
- you complete your program;
- you change your status to part-time;
- you withdraw from your studies altogether;
- you interrupt your studies for more than six consecutive months;
- you reached your lifetime limit for financial assistance.
However, if you decide to return to full-time studies again, you may not be required to continue making your payments during the time you are studying. Unless you've reached your lifetime OSAP limit, you may be able to postpone repayment of any loan debt you incurred for previous studies to a future date.
Although you aren't required to make a payment for six months from the date you complete your studies, interest begins to accrue as soon as you complete your program or withdraw from your studies. This grace period is commonly known as the "non-repayment period." You can, however, begin repaying your loan during this time if you wish.
Continuation of Interest-Free Status
If you have received OSAP assistance in the past and are attending university full time without receiving OSAP assistance, be sure to complete a Continuation of Interest Free Status Application before the deadline. If you fail to do so, you will be required to start repaying your student loans even if you are still attending university.
Contact your lender
Contact your lender to make your repayment arrangements. Some lenders do contact students before the six-month grace period ends. However, if the lender is unable to reach you, you're responsible for contacting the lender to set up a loan agreement and for managing your loan payments. If you don't contact the lender, you may find your loan payments are being automatically withdrawn from the same bank account where your loans were deposited. If you don't have the funds to cover the payments in that account, you risk going into default, which will negatively affect your credit rating for years.
Tips to repay your loans
- Make payments while you're studying if at all possible. Even the smallest contributions significantly reduce the overall amount you repay.
- Make lump sum payments. Your loan principal decreases more quickly, resulting in less interest in the long run.
- Make payments during the non-payment (grace) period. Any payments will reduce the interest that has accrued since you finished university. You'll also be able to claim the interest payments on your income tax returns.
- Increase the amount of your monthly payments. This will reduce the total outstanding loan amount and reduce the interest you'll pay on your loans.
- Choose weekly or bi-weekly payments instead of monthly payments. This will help reduce the interest you pay and shorten the time required to pay off your loan.