How Much Do You Really Need to Know About OSAP?

OSAP Student loans

It may not be a matter of how much you do know about OSAP but it should be a matter of how much should you know.   OSAP is the Ontario Student Assistance Program.   It is a collection of loans and grants that can be issued to students who need help paying for their education and can qualify for the various forms of money that can be issued through this program.   The money available comes in various forms.   It can be a loan, grant, bursaries and scholarships.

The program is run by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.   When you are making an agreement with OSAP you are basically signing a contract with the government.   This is most important to know because most likely you will be required to pay back at least a portion of the money that you may receive through this program.

We have always been taught that whenever we are going to sign a contract to read it carefully and know what we are agreeing to.   This often is not a practice that is followed by students who are applying for financial educational assistance.   Basically most students just want to know how much money they will qualify for, and worry about the pay back when the time comes.

OSAP funding can only be applied to educational institutions that have been qualified by the OSAP program.   One may think that as long as the educational institution has been approved then it must be a quality educational entity.   While this is usually the case it isn’t always.

You as a student have had to borrow money to pay to your chosen and approved school but the responsibility is on you to ensure that this institution is going to be able to meet your needs.   Often students get forced into choosing a school simply because it is OSAP approved.   This reduces their choice of educational institutions.

Most often the OSAP approved school or program that you are applying for will take care of your OSAP application for you.   You just need to fill it out properly and they will do the rest.

You really should follow up carefully with the results.   Know what types of funding are available in the OSAP program.   Know which ones you have been qualified for, and find out why you did not qualify for the ones that you didn’t get.

Remember that the objectives of you and the school you are applying for are different.   The school’s objective is to get you enough money through OSAP to basically cover your tuition, and whatever you need to allow you to continue in the length of your chosen program.   To them it doesn’t matter whether this is by way of a grant or loan.

For you the objective should be different.   Your goal is to obtain as much money from the OSAP program that you do not have to re-pay in the future.

Don’t just assume that the process is all automatic and that you will automatically get what you area able to qualify for.  This is a contract remember so you should be fully aware of what it entails.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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