Mohawk official says Internet has simplified student loan process
Applying for a loan or grant under the Ontario Student Assistance Program has never been so easy according to Pam Smith.
“They can apply from anywhere in the world where they have access to the (Internet),” said the coordinator of financial assistance at Mohawk College. “Students can submit a paper application, but there’s really no reason for them to do that. The process is quite simple.”
Smith encourages prospective students to attend one of the series of workshops that Mohawk runs each year where applicants are walked through the online process.
The next workshop is slated for 9 a.m. on July 11 at the Fennell campus.
Smith said there is no age limit for applying for assistance.
The 29 page application document requires a variety of information including family income and assets for dependent students who have been out of high school less than four years.
“They’re assessed for tuition fees, books, living allowance and if their income resources are not sufficient to meet those expenses, then they are awarded some OSAP,” Smith said.
The form takes about an hour to fill out and Smith advises first time applicants to print the document, read it over and have all necessary information at hand before filing it out electronically.
“It’s a legal document, so people should take their time,” Smith said. “Don’t guess at things; make sure you have the correct information.”
Smith said it usually takes about four weeks for the applicant to hear back from OSAP officials inToronto as to whether their application has been accepted.
She also encourages students that when they come to line 665 under financial income to ensure that their OSAP monies are paid directly to the college or university they plan to attend.
Smith said many students have mistakenly clicked on the box that directs OSAP not to pay the fees on the student’s behalf.
That means the money will be sent to the student’s bank account and it will be up to the student to ensure their fees are paid correctly and on time.
“Don’t click on that button,” she said.
A full-time student who is single with no dependents is eligible for up to $12,240 for an academic year (two terms) and a married, common law or sole-support parent can get up to $19,040.
At Mohawk a typical first year program costs close to $2,700 and the tuition for a first year nursing student is nearly $7,600.
Students are expected to begin paying back their OSAP loans starting in the seventh month after they graduate, finish their studies or stop being a full-time college or university student.
Ontario student loans are paid back at the prime interest rate plus one percent and for Canada student loans the rate is prime plus 2.5 percent.