Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

 Please review the following questions regarding student loans and the Ontario Student Assistance Program(OSAP) and other loan programs.

 

Q: What is OSAP?
A: The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a federal government plan, administered by the provincial government, which provides funding to students from lower-income families to meet the costs of post-secondary education. This plan covers both the Canada Student Loan, which pays 60% of the funding, and Ontario Student Loan, which pays 40% of the funding. When you are applying for OSAP you are automatically considered for both loans if you meet the Ontario residency requirements. If you are a single student, you may be eligible to receive loans of up to $320 per week of study (33 weeks—$9,075). If you are a student who is married or is a sole-support parent, you may be eligible to receive loans of up to $545 per week of study (33 weeks—$16,500). You must be a full time student (60% of a course load each term) in order to qualify for OSAP funding. To apply or find out more about the program please visit http://osap.gov.on.ca.

 

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Q: Does the student loan (OSAP) cover all of my educational and living costs?
A: No. Assistance under the program is intended only to supplement the financial resources available to students from their parents or spouses, from summer earnings or from other sources. You may also find that government-spending guidelines are below what you would spend on yourself.

 

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Q: How is the loan amount determined?
A: The amount of financial assistance you receive through OSAP is based on your financial need as calculated by OSAP. Both the federal and provincial governments expect you and your family to contribute towards your educational costs. Need is determined by using the following formula:

Financial Need = Expected Financial Contributions - Allowable Costs


There are expected financial contributions that are calculated when determining your OSAP eligibility:

  • Family Contributions — See next question.
  • Student pre-study contribution — You are expected to contribute a minimum of $130 per week for each week that you are available to work during this pre-study period, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  • Part-time Income from all sources during the study period — If you work part-time (or receive additional income through bursaries, etc.), during the study period, you may earn up to $50 per week. If you earn more, you must declare that amount and the OSAP program will expect you to contribute this extra income toward your education. Your future loan(s) may be reduced due to this increased resource (see question regarding over awards).
  • Personal Assets — You may be expected to contribute some of your assets to offset your costs. The most common asset used is a car. If your vehicle is worth more than $5,000, the value over $5,000 will be included in your resources. Other assets (such as GIC's, bonds and savings account balances) will also be calculated as a resource.

You can get an idea of how much assistance you might receive through OSAP loans by using the Student Access Window.

 

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Q: Based on my parental income, will I qualify for OSAP?
A: Maybe. Parental income is only one factor used to determine a student’s eligibility. If you are a single, dependent student, your parents may be expected to contribute a portion of their annual income toward your educational expenses. The amount they are expected to contribute is calculated based on the number of people in your family and the gross income of your parents. The calculated amount is used to offset your costs for the year. Therefore, if your parents' expected contribution exceeds your estimated costs for the school year, you will not be eligible for a student loan.

 

You can get an idea of how much assistance you might receive through OSAP loans by using the Student Access Window.

 

 

Q: Are there circumstances that would disqualify me from receiving OSAP?
A: Yes, there are various reasons why you may not qualify for OSAP.

You may be ineligible to receive funding if:

  • You are in default on previous Canada and/or Ontario Student Loans or Canada Integrated Student Loans, or you did not repay any loan, grant, bursary and/or scholarship overpayments;
  • You are under investigation for breaching any of the terms and conditions of OSAP;
  • You do not meet the academic progress requirements;
  • You have loan overpayments from two or more academic years;
  • There is a significant variance in the amount of income reported to Canada Custom and Revenue Agency and the amount provided in connection with your OSAP application;
  • You are receiving other government assistance that covers the expenses related to your post-secondary studies. If you are receiving other government assistance that covers a portion of your expenses, it is important that you check with the other government agency about receiving benefits and OSAP assistance at the same time. For further information, contact the local office of the agency from which you are receiving benefits.

 

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Q: Will I receive OSAP funding for each year of my undergraduate degree?

A: Students are eligible to apply each year for OSAP but there is a “years plus one” policy put in place by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. This means that a student who is studying towards a pass degree has one extra year of funding available to complete his or her pass degree (three years plus one). Also, a student who is studying toward an honors degree has one extra year of funding (five years) available to complete this four-year degree.

 

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Q: I'm not applying for OSAP this year, how do I keep my interest free status?

A: If you choose not to apply for OSAP, you can keep your loans in interest free status by completing a Continuation of Interest-Free Status (Schedule 2) form. In order to be eligible for interest free status, you must be enrolled in full-time studies or completing a work term. For OSAP purposes, full-time studies is defined as a 60% course load. Students with a registered, permanent disability are considered full-time students when completing a 40% course load.   

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Q: When should I apply for OSAP?
A: If you are fairly certain which post-secondary institution you will be attending, submit your application as early as possible after May 1. If you are uncertain which post-secondary institution you will be attending, submit your application to the school of your choice after you have received your offer of admission in mid-June, but not later than July 1. A typical application may take up to six weeks to process. An application that requires special consideration may take eight to 10 weeks to process. Application deadlines are published annually in the OSAP application package. There is a penalty for applying late.

 

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Q: I reside in another province, can I apply for OSAP?
A: No. If your home province is not Ontario, then you must apply to the ministry or department of education in your home province for information regarding government assistance.

 

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Q: I need some advice. Can I talk to someone about my financial situation?
A: Yes. You can call the Financial Aid Office at 905-688-5550 x3031. You can also make arrangements for a personal interview. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

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Q: I have enough savings to last until January. When should I apply for OSAP?
A: Preferably as soon as possible. Try to apply long before you run out of money. The deadline to apply for OSAP is 90 days before the end of the term.

 

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Q: Can I appeal the amount of loan I receive?
A: Yes, under very limited circumstances. You may be able to have your application reviewed due to exceptional circumstances. These circumstances may include:

  • A breakdown in the family relationship
  • Unexpected major expenses
  • Change in parental income (loss of job, illness, layoff)
  • You were unable to work during the summer or work period due to illness
  • You worked part time during the summer or work period because no full-time work was available
  • If you feel you are in a situation that requires special consideration, please make an appointment to see a Financial Aid Officer in the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office, room ST 402.

 

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Q: How and when will I receive my student loan?
A: Once you have submitted all supporting documents(signature pages, etc.), Student Loan documents are printed by the respective province and sent to the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office.  You will be notified by email to your Brock email account with directions on how to pick up and process your loans.  Sixty percent of the loan entitlement is issued in the first instalment (normally in Septempber) and the remainder issued in the second instalment (normally January).  General loan pick-up information is posted on our web site.

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Q: I haven't had my loan amount deposited in my account yet.  How do I find out what's going on?
A: Loan and bursary amounts received through the OSAP program are processed by the National Student Loan Centre.  You can call their student contatct line at 1-888-815-4514 to get information on the delivery of your funding.

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Q: Are there other types of loans and bursaries available?
A: The federal and provincial governments offer other types of financial assistance to both full-time and part-time students. Students must fill out an application form to be considered for these programs. Applications for the following programs are available from your Financial Aid Office.

Programs for full-time students

  • Bursary for Students with Disabilities
  • Child-Care Bursary
  • Ontario Work Study Program

Programs for part-time students

  • Ontario Special Bursary Plan
  • Part-time Canada Student Loans
  • Canada Study Grant for high need part-time students

Programs for all students

  • OSAP Loan Repayment Assistance

 

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Q: Does Brock University operate any other loan programs?
A: No. The Student Awards and Financial Aid Office does not offer loans. The University does offer bursaries for students who can show financial need.

 

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Q: What happens if I withdraw from studies?
A: If you withdraw from your program, or stop attending classes, you will be reassessed and your original OSAP entitlement will be recalculated based on the number of weeks you were in attendance. You immediately lose your interest-free status on your Canada and Ontario Student Loan and you must make arrangements to repay your outstanding Canada/Ontario Student Loan debt six months from the month in which you ceased attendance. If you return to school within the six-month period and you notify your lending institution of your registration status, your loans will go back into interest-free status. In most cases, any refund from the University as a result of your withdrawal will be remitted directly to your lending institution to be applied to your outstanding Ontario and/or Canada Student Loan.

 

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Q: What should I know about repaying my loan?

A: When you graduate or cease to be a full time student, your loan will go into repayment within 6 months.  During that 6 months interest will begin to accrue.  Annually, Brock and the National Student Loan Service Centre offer a repayment seminar to help you understand the process.  Please review the PowerPoint presentationopen new window or contact us at safa@brocku.ca for more information.

 

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Q: What is an over-award?
A: An over-award is the amount of student loan issued to you in excess of what you are entitled to receive. An over-award may occur for a number of reasons such as: an increase in your resources; a mathematical error in the original assessment; an early withdrawal from studies; a change in your course load; completion of studies earlier than anticipated. An over-award in one year could create financial hardship for you in future school terms.

 

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Q: What is the Interest Relief Program?
A: The Interest Relief Program is a program that is available to students who are temporarily unable to repay their Canada and/or Ontario Student loans. If you are a full-time student, you may apply for interest relief once you have consolidated your loan, and up to five years after you begin repaying your loan. If you are a part-time student, you may apply for interest relief one month after you receive your loan. For older loans, application forms are available from the bank that holds your loan(s) or the National Student Loan Centre. Do not send the completed application form directly to the ministry.

 

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Q: Who is eligible for interest relief?
A: You are eligible for interest relief if you:

  • Are living in Canada or are on an international internship;
  • Have signed a Consolidated Student Loan Agreement;
  • Have not already received interest relief for the maximum period allowed (30 months); and
  • Ensure your student loans are in good standing at your financial institution and/or the National Student Loans Service Centre.

The eligibility period for extended interest relief is limited to 60 months from your study period end date.

If you have any questions about the application procedures or if you require additional information about the Interest Relief Program, contact the National Student Loan Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514.

 

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Q: What is the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant?
A: The Ontario Student Opportunity Grant is available to help all students reduce their debt load. It may be granted at the end of each academic year. You do not have to fill out a special application for this grant, because the information that you supply on your OSAP form is used to determine your eligibility. Once the ministry has verified that all the information on your OSAP application is correct, a cheque will be sent to the lending institution that holds your loan. The grant is paid down on your Ontario Student Loan first. The ministry will send you a letter indicating the amount of your grant at the end of each academic year and once all income has been verified. For more information, you can go to osap.gov.on.ca

 

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Q: Do I automatically receive the Student Opportunity Grant?
A: No, the Student Opportunity Grant is not guaranteed. All students are eligible to receive the grant, but there are some circumstances that may disqualify you from receiving the grant.

You are not eligible for a grant if you:

  • Withdraw or are expelled from your program of studies before you have completed your academic year.
  • Reduce your course load to part time (less than 60 per cent of a full course load or less than 40 per cent if you are a student with a permanent disability).
  • Are enrolled in a one-term program (less than 21 weeks) or have completed only one term of your program
  • Have defaulted on a previous student loan(s), and/or
  • Have been reassessed and your loan entitlement has been reduced to less than $7,000 for a two-term academic year or $10,500 for a three-term academic year.

 

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Q: Can I apply for the US Federal Student Loan Program at Brock?

A: The U.S. Federal Student Loan Program is also known as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Brock does not participate in the Direct Loan program. Students at Brock university may qualify for third-party loans such as Sallie Mae Smart Loans, for example . Please contact us at safa@brocku.ca for more information.

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