Tapping into OSAP - The Basics

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Thinking about selling your record collection (and maybe your roommates) to pay for tuition? While we can’t give you a discount, we can do our best to help you out. We’ve laid out the basics of the Ontario Student Assistance Program for you.

The Program:
OSAP is a program in Ontario designed to assist students with financial need attend university. It provides assistance with education and living expenses. Loans are granted based on applicant’s eligibility.

The Basics:
If you were planning on using OSAP this year, hopefully you’ve already applied. Becky Waldie, a staff member at Western’s registrar services, said OSAP applications should have been completed by June 30, since it takes up to eight weeks to process your information.

Once your OSAP application is accepted, watch the OSAP website for confirmation your loan is available. A grid with the amounts and dates of your first and second installments will appear. If your installment dates appear on the website, you can trust Western has the information as well, Waldie said.

By the second week of September, you should receive an email from the office of the registrar telling you when and where to pick up your OSAP.

When you receive your loan, you will fill out a Confirmation of Enrolment form confirming any summer income, scholarships or financial awards you received. Make sure you fill out this form, as it could affect your second installment, and submit it to the Financial Services Office.

Pick-up is usually held at Somerville House in The Great Hall. Waldie admits picking up your OSAP can take awhile, but the entire process is straightforward and can be completed in a single visit.

Remember to bring your social insurance card (not just your number) and photo ID. If you don’t have a SIN card, visit the Service Canada offices downtown to request a replacement card. You will receive a temporary card or a receipt, which you can use to pick up your loan.

Your OSAP may or may not cover your entire tuition. You are responsible to pay any difference. If you have money left over once tuition is paid, it’s yours to keep. It’s up to you what to use it for, but Waldie advises students to put it towards their second installment or use it to purchase textbooks and school supplies.

Once you’ve cashed your cheque, you’re worry free. Now you can focus on classes and um... social relations. Just remember that you need to maintain a satisfactory average in order to receive your OSAP payments.

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