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sleeper

OSAP - what counts?

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So far I've only used the online estimator for OSAP - is actually acurate? I know there are far more variables than this...

 

It looks like if you are independent they only care about your income and where you live in the four months prior to starting school, and your assets. At what point do they count your assets, when you apply or when you start school?

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they will likely look at at least your last year's tax return and your assets prior to the months starting school.

 

I believe that any savings above 5K or so is going to be looked at assets which can be used to pay for school.

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ALL your savings are counted, not just those above $5K. They will also take the book value of your car and translate it into real dollars and add it to your income. that's why they ask for your drivers license number. to cross reference it with any registered vehicles.

 

the estimator is only as accurate as the info you enter into it. the more realistic you are about how much money you've saved and will make during the summer / school year, the more accurate it will be. max osap is around $11,900 for the year.

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Kellang is right, with one slight modification.

 

If you own a car, they will take every dollar of its value over $5,000 into account. That's probably where you got the $5,000 figure. So if you own a car with a book value of $8,000, then $3,000 will get added to your income or 'resources', and thus deducted from your assessment (if appropriate).

 

You also get an allowance of $2,000 for every year you have been out of high school for savings held in an RRSP.

 

I found the estimator to be really accurate - just make sure you enter in the book value of your car correctly. However, with law school tuition being what it is, you will generally have an assessed need of around $22-24K. You can only get $11,900 max, however any income/resources are deducted from the $22-24K assessed need figure, and your funding won't start going down until you get below the $11,900 amount. In other words, if you are just coming out of undergrad, don't have a really nice car, or an exceptional amount of savings, you can expect a high OSAP assessment.

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Thanks for the help guys.

 

I've been using the estimator to play around with my situation. I've been working for the last year and have an ok amount saved, but I want to travel this summer for three months before school and will be spending a lot of my savings on that. I will have about $4000 in "assets" going into school in sept, and that amount gives me full OSAP funding . If I leave anymore it reduced my funding (the free part) about 70 cents on the dollar, even if income is zero, so why save let alone work more? This is a seriously flawed system! I could have travelled on a loan, and paid that back over the summer and been in the same situation financially, but an "ok" one in osap land.

 

It says on the application though that you have to state your assets 16 weeks prior to school, and I won't have spent it yet. If i do an "adjustment" of my assets in sept will they top me up any funding I didn't get when I first applied? Does anyone know how this works?

 

I feel like I need to hide all my money just for may 13 which is going to be gone at the end of the summer anyways!

 

Another question - if someone (your parents) pay expenses for you like rent or tuition, but never actually give you a straight "monetary gift", does this count as income?

 

I hope you can tell i'm very new to this OSAP thing!

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you're right sleeper - its a very flawed system. they don't realize (or don't care) that there is a point where its worth it for us not to work and make more money and just borrow it from OSAP instead. especially because you only pay back a max of $7K every year (everything you borrow above $7K in Ontario is "grant" money and you don't need to pay it back).

 

declare on your app in May what you expect to have in Sept (i.e.$4K). they will look at your income tax file in Nov '09 to see how much money you made in 2008 but that doesn't show them your savings. however, in May, they may do a credit check on you and credit checks often show the balances on your various bank accounts. i don't know whether your bank account balance will be used to calculate your loan this year, so if you're worried about the fact that they will take into account money you are going to spend over the summer then you may want to "hide" your money.

 

don't forget that max. osap also entitles you to be eligible for a lot of bursaries and grants that you don't have to pay back.

 

and yes, if your parents pay for your rent or tuition, that counts as money towards your income. although how will OSAP know if you don't declare that on your application :wink:

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I think that everyone should get OSAP - or better yet, university should be free because the more educated the population, the better off we are, even if we don't personally go to school. that would solve the flaws in this system.

 

kellang, where did you hear about the rent and tuition counting as income?

 

It specifically says "monetary gifts" on the osap page. If my parents bought me a t-shirt so I had clothes to wear, they would use money to pay for it. But this certainly is not considered a monetary gift. Why then is buying or renting a place for me to live different?

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However, in May, they may do a credit check on you and credit checks often show the balances on your various bank accounts. i don't know whether your bank account balance will be used to calculate your loan this year, so if you're worried about the fact that they will take into account money you are going to spend over the summer then you may want to "hide" your money.

 

So the government can actually see how much money you have in your bank account if they do a credit check?? I thought that bank account info is completely confidential?

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Some excellent clarification from my school's financial aid office:

 

Any assets (savings, vehicle etc) you would list as of the asset valuation date which is 16 weeks prior to the start of your study period (not the date of application). Anything obtained after that date would have to be reported, just perhaps in a different section of the application depending on what it was.

 

If you cash in an RRSP under the lifelong learning plan, we would not make any adjustments as this is a loan that must be repaid [i.e. not counted as income]. Just confirm with you financial services provider that you would not receive a T4 to report that as income on your next year’s tax return.

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Is there no where on the application where you can state what your monthly expenses are?

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Is there no where on the application where you can state what your monthly expenses are?

 

Your monthly expenses are assumed based on your status as single, married, parent, etc. If you choose to live above or below those assumptions, that's considered to be your business.

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