Financing Your Education
Investing in your education is one of the most rewarding, but costly investments you can make. It is important to be aware of ways to financially prepare yourself to be able to afford school costs (tuition, textbooks, and school supplies), but also budgeting for other costs (commuting, going out for lunch with your friends, and living expenses like rent or your cell phone bill).
There are many ways to help finance your education:
Student Financial Assistance
Financing your education: Who’s who?
When financing your education through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), there are a number of institutions that work collaboratively to assess eligibility, calculate funding, issue loans and grants, and manage loan repayment.
These institutions are:
The ministry of the government of Ontario responsible for the administration of laws relating to post-secondary education is known as the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). They are also responsible for providing financial assistance to post-secondary school students through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). Think of the MCU as the “brain” in the OSAP process.
As a government loan borrower in Canada (i.e. OSAP and out-of-province funding), it is very important for you to know about the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
The NSLSC is an independent, third party agency responsible for the disbursement and collection of student loan funding in Canada. Think of the NSLSC as the “banker” of student loans. As the “banker” of student loans, this means the NSLSC manages the issuing and repayment of Ontario Student Assistance Program part-time and full-time loans. Once Northern College confirms your enrollment and releases funding, the official issuing of those funds is managed by the NSLSC.
You can find detailed information related to your overall student loans through your personalized and secure NSLSC account. We encourage students to familiarize themselves with the NSLSC website, as it is quite user friendly and the information provided on the website can help answer any questions or concerns you may have about your loans.
You can use the NSLSC portal to:
- Check your student loans status and balances
- Track your student loan funding disbursement
- Update your banking information
- Make a payment towards your student loan
- Access loan statements for tax purposes
- Update your contact information
- Apply for repayment assistance
- Request a change to the terms of your repayment
It is important that you proactively monitor your NSLSC account for any changes to your profile information and enrolment (such as study period start and end dates, program information, etc). We recommend checking your NSLSC portal on a weekly basis so you don’t miss out on important updates.
Contacting the NSLSC
Questions about your funding disbursement, repayment, or repayment assistance? The NSLSC is the lender of student loan funding, and can answer these questions. Contact the NSLSC by visiting their website or check the NSLSC’s YouTube Channel for tools and tips to help you successfully manage your student loan(s).
Northern College’s Financial Aid Office (FAO) is responsible for administering the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Program.
- Providing OSAP consultation
- Reviewing all Northern OSAP applications submitted to student OSAP portals
- Releasing funding to eligible OSAP applicants
If you have questions about your OSAP application, we encourage you to reach out to the Financial Aid Officer on your Campus. They are responsible for managing the OSAP program for Northern students. Your FAO is there to assist you from the beginning to end of your OSAP journey – just reach out!
Together, they administer and manage the OSAP program. It is important to understand who these institutions are, and the specific role they play in financing your education.
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
The financial aid program administered by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) is known as the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). OSAP can help students pay for college or university. It is not designed to cover all costs of attendance; attending higher education is a shared responsibility between yourself, the government, and your family.
OSAP offers two types of funding:
1. Grants: money you don’t have to pay back
2. Student loan: money you need to repay once you’re done school
OSAP is available for both full-time and part-time programs.
For OSAP purposes, you’re in full-time studies if you’re taking 60% or more of a full course load. If you have a permanent disability, you may choose to be considered a full-time student if you’re taking at least 40% of a full course load. Your full course load percentage is defined by your school
For OSAP, you’re in part-time studies if you’re taking between 20% and 59% of a full course load. Your course load percentage is defined by your school.
It’s important to note that the OSAP program is not a standardized process that releases the same funding each year. Funding assessments differ for every student, and are subject to change each year based on OSAP policy.
Students can apply for OSAP via the online OSAP portal. OSAP funding is determined by several factors such as education expenses, course load, and your personal financial situation (which may include your parent(s) or spouse/common law partner, if applicable).
Financial Aid Office
The Financial Aid Officers on each of our campuses are responsible for managing the OSAP program for Northern students. If you need to make changes to your OSAP application details, have questions about your funding, are experiencing financial hardship, the Financial Aid Office is here to help!
Although your FAO helps to administer student loans, we do not manage the repayment of those student loans. That is the job of the National Student Loan Centre (NSLSC). Any questions about repayment, concerns about interest charges, or discrepancies in the disbursement of funds should be directed to them.