Students in special circumstances

student readingIf you’re a student with specific needs, OSAP offers a range of programs that can help you pay for postsecondary education.

Aboriginal students

If you are eligible for money from your band for postsecondary education: apply for that funding first.

If your band funding doesn’t cover all of your costs, you can apply for OSAP. When you apply, OSAP will take into account any band funding you receive.

Other funding programs

Aboriginal Postsecondary Education and Training Bursary

Money you don’t have to pay back, from the Ontario government, to help Aboriginal students in financial need.  You need to apply for this bursary through your financial aid office.

Aboriginal Bursaries website

A searchable list of bursaries, scholarships and incentives for Aboriginal students.

Postsecondary Student Support Program

Federal government funding for Status Indian and Inuit students enrolled in eligible postsecondary programs. Contact your local band office for information.

Metis Student Bursary Program

Funding for Métis students enrolled in postsecondary education. Apply for this funding through the Financial Aid Office, Aboriginal Student Liaison Centre or Student Support Services at your college or university. 

Students with Crown Ward status

The government offers specific supports for Crown Wards.

What's not considered “income” on an application

OSAP does not consider the following funds when calculating your income for loan purposes:

  • savings from the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent program
  • the money you get through the Extended Care and Maintenance Allowance
  • any earned income, bursaries and scholarships up to $3,699 a year
  • money withdrawn from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) that was set up by a Children’s Aid Society

Refund application fees

If you have Crown Ward status — regardless of age, income or adoption status — you can get a refund for the fees you pay when you apply to:

  • an approved program at college or university
  • a first postsecondary degree, diploma or certificate

This includes applications for previous years, back to 2011/12.

How to apply

You need to apply for a refund. To apply:

  • print an Application Reimbursement Program form
  • complete and sign the form (it includes information about your status and education)
  • mail the form to the address in the application

The refund amount depends on the school(s) you applied to.

Form: Application for Reimbursement (2011-12; 2012-13) (PDF)

Form: Application for Reimbursement (2013-14) (PDF)

Ontario Access Grants for Crown wards

If you are taking a degree, diploma or certificate program at a postsecondary level for the first time, you could be eligible for a special grant up to $3,000 a year.

First-generation students

If you are the first in your family to go to college or university, you could be eligible for a special bursary.

Contact your school’s financial aid office to apply.

Students with disabilities

If you have a permanent disability, you could be eligible for grants and bursaries in addition to an OSAP loan.

When you apply for OSAP, you will be considered for these grants:

  • Bursary for Students with Disabilities and Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities
  • Canada Student Grant for Persons with Permanent Disabilities
  • Ontario Out-of Country Bursary for Deaf Students

Definition: “permanent disability” for OSAP purposes

You can also get specialized help, if you are having trouble repaying a student loan. You can find out more through these programs:

Canada Permanent Disability Benefit

Ontario Severe Permanent Disability Benefit

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing

If you’re deaf or hard-of-hearing and want to study at a school where American Sign Language or Quebec Sign Language is the language of instruction, you could be eligible for a special bursary that can help you cover the extra cost of studying outside of Canada.

Form: Ontario Out-of-Country Bursary for the Deaf Students

Students on social assistance

Before you begin your studies, you need to:

  • report the amount of social assistance you receive on your OSAP application
  • let your caseworker know how much OSAP you receive

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

If you get financial support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), you can also apply for OSAP.

OSAP is meant to help cover your educational costs:

  • tuition fees
  • compulsory fees
  • books
  • supplies and equipment
  • local transportation

You can continue to get ODSP funding to help with living costs.

Maximum amount

You can only receive a certain amount of OSAP and income support at the same time.

If the money you get from OSAP is more than you need to cover the direct costs related to education and local transportation, you can request to reduce this amount so you don’t lose any of your social assistance support.

You can also request to have your ODSP support payments reduced.

Contact your caseworker for more information.

Ontario Works (OW)

If you get financial support through the Ontario Works program, you need to apply for OSAP to help cover both your education and living costs.

Single, full-time student getting OSAP: you are not eligible for OW support.

Married or a sole-support parent: you could be eligible for an OW top-up if the amount of money you get from OSAP (for living costs) is less than you would get through the OW program.

Contact your caseworker for more information.

Updated: March 27, 2014