Every OSAP loan is paid for partially by the federal government and partially by the provincial government, usually split 60% federal and 40% provincial.

At its most basic, the OSAP formula calculates how much a student needs and then subtracts how much the student can afford to pay and the difference is given to the student in the form of a loan (and sometimes grant), up to a maximum of $11,900 for a normal, two-term year.


To be eligible for OSAP you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen
  • have lived in Ontario for 12 consecutive months without being a full-time post-secondary student
  • be taking a 60% course load (40% with permanent disability)
  • pass a credit check
  • not be in default on any government loans
  • demonstrate satisfactory academic progress

Assessing Costs

In assessing how much it will cost a student to attend school, OSAP takes the following into account:

  • tuition, books and supply costs
  • living allowance
  • cost of transportation home (if applicable)
  • cost of child care (if applicable)

Assessing Contribution

In assessing how much a student can afford to contribute to their education, OSAP takes the following into account:

  • parental contribution
  • personal assets
  • summer income
  • in-study income

Living Allowance

When calculating a student’s need, OSAP allocates a certain monthly living allowance to cover shelter, food, public transit, and miscellaneous expenses. The amount of the living allowance depends on the student’s situation – students living away from home have a higher living allowance, as do married students and students with dependents.

Monthly Living Allowances for the Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan/Grant
Source: 2009-2010 Student Eligibility and Financial Need Assessment Manual, p. 146

Living Situations Living Allowance ($)
Single Student Living At Home
Shelter 0
Food 177
Miscellaneous 186
Public Transportation 70
Total Monthly Living Allowance 433
Single Student Living Away From Home
Shelter 505
Food 226
Miscellaneous 244
Public Transportation 70
Total Monthly Living Allowance 1,045

From the chart above, a single student living away from home receives $226/month for food or $7.50 per day.

For a detailed breakdown of the OSAP living allowance, click HERE.

OSAP Stats

  • In 2008/09 the number of OSAP recipients reached 226,000 students between universities and colleges.
  • In 2008/09, the mean average loan amount per student in Ontario was $7,792.
  • The 2008/09 OSAP the default rate was 8.4%, the lowest in Canada.
  • 28,300 students received Canada Access grants, and 53,800 students received Ontario Access Grants.
  • In cash terms, just over 80,000 students received an Ontario Student Opportunity Grant in 2008/09.
  • In 2007-08, the average repayable OSAP debt of a 4-year university student was $21,883. Total student debt is higher, as it takes into account debt from private sources.
  • Of university students completing the final year of their program in 2007-08, about 40 per cent have repayable OSAP debt totaling $25,000 or more.