posted on Sept. 6: OSAP interest relief period increased for some recipients


The Ontario government is changing the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to provide some students in need with additional assistance to manage their repayable student loan debt.

“We are committed to providing students with a high quality education through a strengthened and expanded publicly funded postsecondary education system,” said Dianne Cunningham, minister of training, colleges and universities.

“We believe that students should contribute a reasonable portion of the cost of their postsecondary education, but we recognize that some will need additional assistance as they begin to build their careers.”

Under the changes, a person who has left school and:

  • has a low-income or is unemployed will be eligible to receive up to 54 months of interest relief under OSAP, up from the current 30 month limit; and
  • who has exhausted his/her interest relief options and is still unable to meet their repayment obligations will have access to an additional one-time reduction in the balance of his/her OSAP to bring the debt to an affordable level.

“Our college and university students are vital to Ontario's continued prosperity,” Cunningham said. “With an aging population and new occupations, today's students will have tremendous opportunities to pursue their goals.”

Students in Ontario are required to pay upon graduation only the first $7,000 of their annual OSAP loan under the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant.

In 2000-01, the Ontario government spent $578 million to provide financial assistance to 160,000 students through OSAP, including grants, loans, bursaries and scholarships.