A collection of common OSAP terms and their definitions.
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For OSAP the academic year runs from August 1 to July 31 of the following year. The date your study period begins determines which academic year application you need to use to apply.
For example, the “2021-22 academic year” for OSAP is based on a study period that starts anytime between August 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022.
Some programs, such as the Continuation of Interest-Free Status program, are not academic-year specific and do not have academic-year specific applications.
Examples of academic upgrading programs include:
- upgrading to high school equivalency
- English- or French-as-a-second-language
- literacy and basic skills
- academic and career entrance
- pre-university programs
An affidavit is a document where the contents have been sworn or affirmed to be true.
It is sworn by you and/or a family member (if applicable) and signed before:
- a lawyer
- a person who is not a lawyer but who is a commissioner of oaths or
- a notary public
Some universities and colleges provide this service on campus for free or at a low cost to students. Check with your school’s financial aid office for details.
A commissioner of oaths is usually available at:
- community legal clinics
- municipal or township offices, or
- law offices
Some documents can be sworn before a commissioner of oaths at select ServiceOntario locations.
Manual language with its own syntax and grammar, used primarily by people who are deaf.
If you started a bankruptcy or a related event, this means you’ve acted under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). You have:
- filed for bankruptcy
- made a consumer proposal
- obtained a consolidation order, or
- filed a document seeking relief for the orderly payment of debts
You’re a discharged bankrupt if you:
- filed for bankruptcy and
- obtained an “absolute order of discharge” from the court
You're an undischarged bankrupt if you:
- filed for bankruptcy and that process has not been completed, withdrawn, annulled or
- did not obtain an “absolute order of discharge” from the court
A bursary is financial aid that isn’t a loan and that you typically don’t have to pay back. A bursary is usually awarded based on financial need and other factors.
A child in extended society care has been placed in the care and custody of the Crown by a court order made under the Child, Youth and Family Service Act. Formerly referred to as a Crown ward.
Compulsory fees include service and education-related costs charged by your school that all students must pay.
These fees fund campus-wide services, such as:
- health services
- athletic fees
- Walksafe programs
For OSAP, you’re living in a common-law relationship if you and your spouse:
- have cohabitated continuously for a period of at least 3 years or
- are in a relationship of some permanence and are the natural or adoptive parents of a child
Your course load is the number of courses or credits you’re taking.
For OSAP, your course load is expressed as a percentage of a full course load.
For example, if a full course load for your program is 5 courses and you’re taking 3 courses, that’s 60% of a full course load. Your school determines the number of courses or credits that make up a 100% course load.
Contact your financial aid office if you need help determining your course load percentage.
A consumer proposal is an offer made by those who owe money (debtors) to those who are owed money (creditors). The proposal is a settlement offer that is usually different from the original contract.
For example, you may offer your creditors:
- a lower monthly payment over a longer time period
- a percentage of what you owe
If you’re older than 22 and have never received an OSAP student loan the government will conduct a credit check to review your credit history. This is done electronically with a credit reporting agency.
You’ll be notified if you’re ineligible for funding because of a poor credit history.
To pass, you can’t have been delinquent for more than 90 days on 3 or more credit accounts/loans, each with a value of $1,000 or more, within the past 3 years.
A Crown ward is a term previously used to describe a child in Ontario who became a ward of the Crown by a court order made under the former Child and Family Services Act. A Crown ward is now referred to as a “child in extended society care”.
Note: This definition applies only to the OSAP Application for Full-Time Students.
If all of the following are true, you are a dependent student:
- you are not married or in a common-law relationship
- you are not separated, divorced or widowed
- you are not a sole-support parent
- you have been out of high school for:
- less than 6 years before the start of your study period (applies to the provincial funding calculation only)
- less than 4 less before the start of your study period (applies to the federal funding calculation only)
- you have not worked full-time for at least 24 months in a row
Not everyone receives the same amount of OSAP. The amount you qualify for is called your entitlement. Your entitlement is based on information
- you provide on your application
- from your postsecondary school, and
- verified with third parties (for example, the Canada Revenue Agency)
OSAP expects that you and your family have planned for your full-time postsecondary education. The purpose of OSAP is to supplement, not replace your resources.
In general, you’re expected to contribute towards your educational costs.
- For 2021-22: Your contribution will be $3,600.
However, your contribution could be waived in some situations (e.g., if you have one or more children or you receive continued care and support from an Ontario Children’s Aid Society, or you self-identify as an Indigenous student). A contribution may also be expected based on your assets and/or your spouse’s (if applicable).
A financial contribution may be expected from your parents or spouse, depending on their income.
A family breakdown is when you are estranged from your parent(s) due to documented mental, physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or drug or alcohol addiction in your family.
We will tell you what supporting documents you’ll need to provide when you apply.
If you have any questions about the documents required, contact your financial aid office for more information.
OSAP is a needs-based program. This means that financial aid for full-time students is based on a formula that compares your education costs with expected financial contributions.
The formula is:
OSAP allowable educational costs & allowances minus Expected Financial Contribution equals Financial Need
OSAP allowable educational costs & allowances
Resources for Expected Financial Contribution
Calculated Financial Need
You’re considered a Francophone student if:
- your mother tongue is French or
- you studied in French at the elementary or secondary level or
- you are/were enrolled in a postsecondary program offered at least partially in French
For OSAP purposes, you’re in full-time studies if you’re taking 60% or more of a full course load. If you have a permanent disability, you may choose to be considered a full-time student if you’re taking at least 40% of a full course load. Your full course load percentage is defined by your school.
A grant is a type of aid that is not a loan and that you typically do not have to pay back. A grant is usually awarded based on financial need and/or other factors.
Normally, OSAP grants are money you don’t need to pay back. However, there are instances where all or part of your grants may be converted to a loan.
Gross income is usually all the money you receive before any taxes or deductions have been subtracted.
If you’re applying to OSAP as a full-time student, you’re considered a single independent student if both of the following are true:
- you’re not currently married or in a common-law relationship
- you don’t have any dependent children
and if at least one of the following applies to you:
- you have been out of high school for:
- 6 or more years at the start of your study period (applies to the provincial funding calculation only)
- 4 or more years at the start of your study period (applies to the federal funding calculation only)
- you have worked full-time for at least 24 months in a row
- both your parents are deceased
- you are currently a child in Extended Society Care or in the care of the Crown just prior to age 18
- you are currently receiving a Continued Care and Support for Youth program allowance from your Children’s Aid Society
A loan is money you borrow that must be paid back. With OSAP, you're borrowing the money from the governments of Canada and/or Ontario. With student loans, you don’t have to pay the interest that adds up while you're in school. It is paid by the federal and provincial governments. You have a period of six months (a “grace period”) after you graduate or leave full-time studies before you are required to pay back your loan.
Your monthly payment is based on your loan principal (the amount you borrow) as well as interest on your loan.
You agree to the terms and conditions of the loan when you complete your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC). These terms and conditions may be updated from time to time.
The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) is a lifetime student loan agreement. The agreement contains the terms and conditions you need to agree to in order to receive and repay your OSAP loan. There are separate MSFAAs for full-time and part-time students.
These terms and conditions may be updated from time to time.
The National Student Loans Service Centre administers student loans funded by the federal and/or Ontario governments. This includes:
- processing your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA)
- arranging for your loan and/or grants to be deposited to your bank account
- keeping track of your loan debt and repayments
- giving you your repayment schedule
- administering the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP)
Your official sponsor is the person in Canada who officially assumes responsibility for your maintenance. Your sponsor either nominated or sponsored you into Canada and has signed an Undertaking with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The nine-digit Ontario Education Number is a student identification number assigned by the Ministry of Education to Ontario elementary and secondary students. This unique number identifies a student’s school records and follows the student throughout their education.
OSAP stands for the Ontario Student Assistance Program. OSAP is run by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and is funded by the federal and provincial governments.
Through OSAP you can apply for assistance as a full-time student, a part-time student, or a student of a micro-credential program. Applications for full-time or part-time studies automatically consider you for funding from several grants and a loan. Applications for a micro-credential program automatically consider you for a grant and a loan.
There are also programs to help you repay your student loan once you’re done school.
There are 2 types of overpayment:
- A loan overpayment occurs when you receive more loan funding than you should have. This may happen if things change from when you first completed your OSAP application. For example, you take fewer courses than you anticipated or you earn more than expected while in school.
- A grant/bursary overpayment exists when you receive more grant or bursary funding than you should have. You may be required to repay the overpayment to be eligible for further student aid. Some grant overpayments are converted to a loan to repay.
For OSAP, you’re in part-time studies if you’re taking between 20% and 59% of a full course load. Your course load percentage is defined by your school.
For OSAP, a permanent disability is legally defined as a functional limitation:
- caused by a physical or mental impairment that restricts your ability to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at a postsecondary level or in the labour force and
- that is expected to remain with you for your expected life
Protected persons are individuals who hold a valid Verification of Status document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or a valid Protected Persons Status Document issued prior to January 1, 2013. A decision letter (“Notice of Decision”) from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is also a valid form of identification.
Protected Persons can include convention refugees, humanitarian-protected persons abroad, and persons in need of protection. A person in need of protection is a person in Canada whose removal to their country of nationality or former habitual residence will make them subject to the possibility of torture, risk of life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
A protected person is defined in subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada).
A scholarship is a type of aid you typically don't have to pay back. A scholarship is usually awarded based on academic merit and other factors.
For OSAP, you’re a sole-support parent if:
- you have a dependent child or children living with you full-time during your study period and
- you’re single, separated, divorced or widowed
For OSAP, the study period is the time period used to determine the amount of OSAP funding you’re eligible to receive for the OSAP academic year. It also determines your deadline dates.
Usually your OSAP study period is the normal school year for your program. It may include one or more terms. Ask your school if you’re unsure about your study period.