Updates on OSAP and the Indigenous Travel Grant

Summary of OSAP changes:

OSAP is helping student loan borrowers during COVID-19 by temporarily deferring OSAP payments. From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, borrowers will not be required to make any loan payments, and interest will not accrue on their student loans. For more information, contact the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) or visit the Canada student aid page.

Also, the ministry would like to note that any student withdrawals related to COVID-19 should not be penalized through reassessment or academic penalties. As a temporary measure, students who withdraw full or partially because they are ill, self-isolating, quarantined or caring for an immediate family member (including a spouse, parent or dependent) would be eligible for a special Exceptional Circumstance Review (ECR). ECR’s for withdrawals due to mental health issues resulting from COVID-19 would also be considered under this special ECR. Students are encouraged to contact their Financial Aid Office to discuss their individual situation.

Information on Ontario Indigenous Travel Grant for learners from northern and remote communities:

We understand that travel funding for students to return to their home communities may be an issue at this time. We would like to highlight the Ontario Indigenous Travel Grant (OITG) as a potential solution for those learners from remote Northern First Nations communities.

As you may recall, the OITG can assist students, as well as their spouse and dependent children, if applicable, with the cost of travelling between their home community and the postsecondary institution they are attending.

To be eligible for this grant, Indigenous learners must meet the following requirements:

  • The learner has self-identified as being an Indigenous person on their OSAP profile;
  • The learner lives in an eligible remote First Nations community in Ontario when they are not in full-time postsecondary studies;
  • The learner is enrolled in either a public or private postsecondary institution located in Ontario or a public postsecondary institution located within Canada that is approved for OSAP purposes; and,
  • The learner has submitted a 2019-20 OSAP Application for Full-Time Students, has met all of the eligibility requirements and has at least $1.00 of financial need.

The ministry recognizes that eligible students may have been impacted by unexpected surges in the costs of travel. If eligible students find themselves in this situation, the ministry would consider 2019-20 OITG applications that exceed the published maximums for travel after March 13, 2020, and consider offering some flexibility if application deadlines are identified as an issue. The current maximums and application deadlines can be found at https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/PRDR019262.html.

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