More information about the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) can be found on the OSAP website.
Eligibility requirements for OSAP
OSAP is open to Ontario residents who are a:
- Canadian citizen,
- permanent resident, or
- protected person
When determining your eligibility, the government considers:
- your status (e.g., married or a dependent student)
- program of study
- course load
- study period
- satisfactory academic progress (OSAP)
- educational expenses
- you and your family’s financial contribution
- your OSAP lifetime limit
Full-time or part-time OSAP status
Full-time OSAP status
- Undergraduate students are considered full time by OSAP if:
- They are enrolled in a minimum of 1.5 units for at least 12 weeks, or
- They have an approved OSAP Disability Verification form on their OSAP profile and are enrolled in a minimum of 1.0 units for at least 12 weeks.
- 1.0 units = 40%
- 1.5 units = 60%
- 2.0 units = 80%
- 2.5 units (or more) = 100%
- Note: PD courses are not counted towards the course load.
- Graduate students are considered full time by OSAP if:
- They are registered as a full-time student for at least 12 weeks, or
- They have an approved OSAP Disability Verification form on their OSAP profile and are enrolled as a part-time student for at least 12 weeks
- Note: Graduate students may or may not be required to take courses as part of their degree; therefore graduate students are either full-time or part-time. A full-time graduate student would have a course load of 100% on the OSAP application.
Part-time OSAP status
- Undergraduate students are considered part time by OSAP if enrolled in less than 1.5 units for at least 4 weeks.
- Graduate students are considered part time by OSAP if they are registered as a part-time student.
OSAP lifetime limit
A student is eligible to receive student financial assistance provided they have not exceeded the lifetime limits as outlined below:
|Students with disabilities||Students in doctoral programs||All other students|
|Canada||520 weeks||400 weeks||340 weeks|
|Ontario||520 weeks||400 weeks||340 weeks|
Apply for OSAP
Step 1: Log in to your OSAP account using your Ontario Access Number (OAN) and password.
- First-time applicants will need to create an account, a personal profile, and be assigned an Ontario Access Number (OAN). Keep this in a memorable place as you will need it each time you log in to the OSAP website.
Step 2: Start a new OSAP application
- Type of application:
- Full-time application: If studying full time per OSAP.
- Part-time application: If studying part time per OSAP; need to apply each applicable term.
Step 3: Submit the application
- At the end of the application, click Submit and review the list of required documents.
Step 4: Upload required documents (if applicable)
- Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) at Waterloo will receive and review all documents. Depending on the time of year, this will take approximately 2-4 weeks.
Step 5: Confirmation of enrolment
- SAFA will confirm your enrolment with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Funding is released 7-10 days after the confirmation of enrolment is completed.
We start this process at the beginning of each term and continue it throughout the term. In order to have your enrolment confirmed:
- you must be fees arranged with Waterloo for the term in which you have applied to OSAP;
- all program information on your application (including program, study period, course load, etc.) must match Quest; and
- all supporting documents must be received and approved.
Delays may occur due to extenuating circumstances, such as academic probation or previous income variances. If you are in this situation, contact the SAFA team for more information.
Step 6: Receive your funding
- OSAP funding is sent directly to the University of Waterloo to pay fees owing each term. Any remaining OSAP funding will be deposited in your bank account after your fees are paid in full.
For part-time applications: If you are receiving the Ontario part-time grant cheque it will be sent by mail. The Ministry will contact you to verify your mailing address.
OSAP during a work term
You can apply for OSAP during an official co-op work term to help with living costs. If you are taking a course during your co-op term, the tuition and fees will be added to your application, as well. However, there are things to consider:
- You must include any co-op earnings on your application as study period income.
- You could incur more debt.
- You will use up more weeks of your OSAP lifetime limit.
Information for full-time OSAP
Make changes to your application
Complete the Application Update form when you need to update your:
- course load,
- program information, and/or
- income, scholarships or other funding received during the pre-study or study period.
Some other changes, such as marital status or name changes, can be made by uploading written notice, along with official documentation, within your OSAP application.
Add a term to your application
If you already have a confirmed OSAP application on file for the current school year, complete the Extension form to add a term if:
- you are returning for an additional academic term during the same school year,
- you are on an official co-op work term and wish to apply for additional funding for living costs, or
- you have completed an undergraduate degree and are returning as a graduate student during the same school year.
Keep your loans in interest-free status
The Continuation of Interest Free Status (CIFS) application is used to keep any previous student loans received through OSAP interest free and non-repayable as you continue with your full-time studies. Previous OSAP loans will go into repayment six months after the end of the last term in which you received OSAP or completed a CIFS application. It is your responsibility to notify the National Student Loans Service Centre when you are registered in full-time studies.
View CIFS application dates.
You are registered and studying on a full-time OSAP basis (or intending to). Note: An official co-op work term is also recognized by OSAP as full-time status.
You are not applying for OSAP funding for the current or upcoming academic term, or you can’t apply for funding because of an academic or other type of restriction.
How to apply
Access the Interest Free Status application by logging into your OSAP account.
Determine your application situation
|Situation||Instructions for Continuation of Interest Free Status (CIFS)|
|I am receiving OSAP assistance for the current academic term||You do not need to complete a CIFS application. Once your OSAP funding issues, it places previous loans in interest free status.|
|I am not receiving OSAP assistance for the current term, but am enrolled in full-time studies||Complete a CIFS application to notify the NSLSC that you are a full-time student. Previous OSAP loans will be placed in interest free status.|
|I am on an 8-month official co-op work term||
If you are receiving OSAP during an 8-month co-op work term you do not need to complete a CIFS application. Once your OSAP funding issues, it places previous loans in interest free status.
If you are not receiving OSAP during an 8-month co-op work term complete a CIFS application to notify the NSLSC that you are a full-time student. Previous OSAP loans will be placed in interest free status.
|I am on a 4-month official co-op work term||
Previous OSAP loans will go into repayment six months after the end of the last term in which you received OSAP or completed a CIFS application.
If you will be receiving OSAP in both the term prior to and immediately after your 4-month co-op work term you do not need to complete a CIFS application because your break in studies is less than six months.
Otherwise, you will need to CIFS application to notify the NSLSC that you are a full-time student. Previous OSAP loans will be placed in interest free status.
To remain eligible for OSAP funding, full-time students are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress during the terms in which they receive OSAP funding.
The requirements are:
- Undergraduate students must pass 1.5 units each term (1.0 units for those identified with a permanent disability).
- The number of units passed/completed is averaged throughout the academic year (September to August).
- For example, if you pass/complete 1.0 units in the fall and 2.0 units in the winter, your average will be 1.5 units per term, which means you’ve met the academic progress requirement.
- Co-op work terms are not included in the academic progress calculation, even if you are enrolled in courses.
- Part-time terms are not included in the academic progress calculation, even if you have applied for part-time OSAP.
- Frequent withdrawals or program changes may be considered a lack of progress.
|Failure to meet academic progress||Consequences||Conditions to reinstate OSAP eligibility (after restriction period)|
Academic progress appeals
Appeals may be considered if a medical issue, disability, family crisis, or parental leave resulted in the lack of academic progress. Submit either the OSAP Academic Probation Appeal Form or the OSAP Academic Restriction Appeal Form along with the required supporting documentation.
Information for part-time OSAP
Becoming fees arranged
Use anticipated aid on Quest for your promissory note submission.
If it is not showing, you can upload a copy of your part-time funding summary from your OSAP account when submitting your promissory note to become fees arranged.
Keep your part-time loans in interest free status
Previous part-time OSAP loans will remain interest-free during each subsequent term in which you receive part-time OSAP funding.
If you are studying part time, but no longer receiving OSAP, it is important to keep your part-time loans in payment-free status. The part-time Interest Free Status application (Schedule 2) is available online on the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) website.
Prior full-time OSAP loans will not be placed in interest free status while studying part-time or with a part-time interest-free status application.
Academic progress requirements
To remain eligible for future part-time OSAP funding, you must successfully complete and pass all courses funded through part-time OSAP. If you do not successfully complete and pass your part-time OSAP funded courses in a term, you must self-fund and successfully complete and pass your course(s) for one part-time term before being eligible for further part-time OSAP funding.
Note: If you have previously received part-time OSAP funding (for a 50% course load or less), an unofficial transcript will be required with any new part-time OSAP applications to show successful completion of all courses from your previous part-time OSAP funded term. If you are applying back-to-back terms, the previous term's unofficial transcript with final grades is required. University of Waterloo will approve the transcript to allow your funding summary to be calculated so that your fees can be arranged. Funding will be withheld until official grades date and an unofficial transcript is submitted.
Maximum Part-time Canada Student Loan
Your outstanding Part-time Canada Student Loan (PT CSL) balance cannot exceed $10,000 at any time. This is not a lifetime maximum but is based on the current amount of the outstanding loan balance. Once you have received this maximum amount, no further loan funding will be available. It is important that you indicate the correct balance of current outstanding Part-time Canada Student Loans on your part-time OSAP application each term. Funding release can be delayed if information provided on your application is incorrect.