On this page

  1. Getting Started 
  2. What is OSAP
  3. Eligibility Requirements
  4. How to Apply
  5. Getting Your Money
  6. Paying Your Fees With OSAP

Getting Started

It’s important to understand your responsibilities when receiving government student loans and grants. The National Student Loan Service Centre encourages students to watch their orientation webinar to learn about the following topics:

  1. The bigger picture: loans, grants and the National Student Loan Service Centre
  2. Who should I contact about my loan or grant?
  3. The 3 stages of your student loan
  4. What you need to know about repaying your student loan
  5. What happens if I don’t repay my loan?
  6. Ways of communicating with you
  7. Registering and using your NSLSC Online Account
  8. Helpful information while you are in school

What is OSAP

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a financial aid program delivered by the federal and provincial government for post-secondary students. OSAP provides Ontario students with financial assistance to help pay for college or university.

Through one application, you are assessed for non-repayable grants, as well as a repayable loan.

Grants = Money that you will not have to repay.
Loan = Money that you will have to repay. Loans through OSAP are interest and payment-free while you are in school full-time.

Funding is available for both full and part-time postsecondary students.


To be considered for the full-time student assistance program (Full-time OSAP), you must be taking 60% or more of a full course load. For undergraduate students, this means a minimum course load of 1.5 credits per term. For graduate students, you must be designated as a full-time graduate student by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs.


To be considered for the part-time student assistance program (Part-time OSAP), you must be taking less than 60% of a full course load. For undergraduate students, this means a course load of fewer than 1.5 credits per term. For graduate students, you must be designated as a part-time graduate student by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Students with a permanent disability

Students with a permanent disability are eligible for either Full-time or Part-time OSAP funding when taking a 40% course load (1.0 credit per term). The full-time program will provide you with funding for tuition, books and living costs whereas the part-time program will only provide you with funding for tuition and books. If you are unsure which program is best for you, give us a call.

Overview: Course load Requirements

Undergraduate Course Credits per term Course Load OSAP funding available
2.0 or more credits 100% Full-time
1.5 credits 60% Full-time
1.0 credits 40% Part-time, or full-time for students with a permanent disability
0.5 credits 20% Part-time

How OSAP Aid is Determined

The amount of money you can get from OSAP is based on your assessed financial need. To determine this, OSAP looks at two factors:

Your education expenses: the amount of money you need to cover tuition, books, childcare, personal living expenses, supplies, and equipment.

Your personal financial situation: how much you and your family are expected to contribute, based on income, family size, and other factors.

The online OSAP Aid Estimator can provide you with a funding estimate based on a few factors. Submitting an application will provide you with an accurate assessment based on your individual situation.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for OSAP funding, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or Protected Person
  • Meet Ontario’s provincial residency requirements
  • Be enrolled in a degree, diploma, or certificate program that is approved for OSAP purposes and studying full-time or part-time at an OSAP approved institution.

All Undergraduate, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs at Carleton are approved for OSAP purposes. If you are enrolled as a Special Student, or in a diploma or certificate program, please contact us to determine your eligibility for OSAP funding.

Note: Special students (non-degree students) who have been suspended from a particular degree at the University are not eligible for OSAP funding during the period of suspension.

For a detailed explanation of citizenship and provincial residency requirements, please view our OSAP eligibility definitions.

If you do not meet Ontario’s residency requirements, you may be eligible for government financial aid through your home province or territory. Visit carleton.ca/awards/sfa for a list of government financial aid programs by province and territory.

How to Apply

The 2019-20 OSAP application is now open!

Step 1: Apply online at ontario.ca/osap

All students who wish to receive OSAP for the upcoming academic year must submit a new application online. This means that if you are a returning student and received OSAP in previous years you must re-apply every year. For new students, you must first register as a new user on the OSAP website and then submit your online application.

Step 2: Submit supporting documents

If you need to provide documents for your application they will be listed on the Print/Upload page of your OSAP account. Print and sign your required supporting documents. With the exception of the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA), all supporting documents must be submitted to the Awards and Financial Aid Office.

You can scan and upload them to your OSAP account or deliver them to the Awards office here at Carleton by mail, courier, or in person.

Step 3: Complete your MSFAA

The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) is a multi-year financial aid agreement that outlines your responsibilities and the terms and conditions of accepting student loans and grants. Additionally, your MSFAA is where you provide your banking info for the deposit of your OSAP funding. You are only required to submit an MSFAA once. When you apply for OSAP for subsequent academic years, you will not be asked to resubmit an MSFAA.

New Online Process

Effective May 2018, there is a new online process for completing your MSFAA. You will be able to sign your MSFAA through the National Student Loans Service Centre website. The NSLSC will send you a “Welcome Email” when it is time for you to register for your online account and complete your MSFAA.

Step 4: Monitor your application

After you have completed and submitted your application, it will be reviewed for completeness and the information you submitted will be used to calculate the amount of funding you are eligible to receive. At this stage, it is very important that you monitor your application’s progress. If certain information is missing or invalid you will be contacted directly via the OSAP Message Centre and your Carleton e-mail account.

To view detailed information about the status of your application and your funding entitlement, log in to your OSAP account and review your Funding Summary at Ontario.ca/osap.

Getting Your Money

If you have applied for Full-time OSAP

Your funding is typically released in two installments:

  • Fall term: first week of September
  • Winter term: first week of January

If you apply after your study period has begun, your funding will be released as soon as your application has processed.

Confirmation of Enrolment

Confirmation of enrolment is done by the Awards Office. If you have submitted all required documents and are registered in the course load you indicated on your application, your enrolment will be confirmed automatically.

Before your funding can be released each term, the Awards Office must confirm your enrolment at Carleton with OSAP. This is typically done a few days prior to your funding release date each term. If you have not submitted all required documents or registered in the appropriate course load, your OSAP will be placed on hold and your enrolment will not be confirmed. You should regularly check your Carleton email account for messages from the Awards Office regarding your OSAP application.

If you have applied for Part-time OSAP

Part-time OSAP funding is generally released in one large instalment at the beginning of the fall term, although a small portion of your grant funding may be held until the beginning of your second term.

Before you funding can be released you will be contacted by the Awards Office to pick up your Part-time Funding Certificate and your Part-time Loan Agreement. You will then deliver both to a designated Canada Post outlet. All funding will then be deposited by the National Student Loan Service Centre directly into your bank account.

Note: Both the Awards Office and Canada Post will require you to present two pieces of appropriate identification before you can pick-up/drop-off your documents.

Paying your fees with OSAP

If you are planning to pay your tuition and fees with OSAP, your payment due date can be extended so that it aligns with when your OSAP is released. This is called a payment deferral.

To receive a payment deferral your OSAP application must be fully processed and you must be approved for funding on or before the standard payment due dates of August 25 for the fall term, and November 25 for the winter term.

If your OSAP application is on hold and you have not been approved for funding by the fee payment deadline, you will not receive a deferral and will be expected to meet the standard fee payment deadline. For more information about fee payment, contact student accounts.

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