Student Assistance Programs for Youth Leaving the Care of Ontario s Children s Aid Societies

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1 Student Assistance Programs for Youth Leaving the Care of Ontario s Children s Aid Societies Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards Expands the standard Ontario Access Grant 1 : Students in programs that are two or more years in length may receive Access Grants for Crown Wards for 50% of tuition fees to a maximum of $3,000/year for up to four years; Students in a one year program may receive an Access Grant for Crown Wards for 100% of tuition costs to a maximum of $3,000. Who is eligible? Students who are currently a Crown ward or were a Crown ward (at any age); or Students who are receiving Continued Care and Support for Youth allowances 2 or were previously eligible to receive these allowances; Student must be enrolled in first-entry postsecondary program (e.g., not law or graduate studies), but not necessarily their first attempt at postsecondary studies; There is no limitation based on the student s age or number of years out of high school. How to apply: Students must apply for OSAP Funding for Full-time Students and must meet the eligibility requirements to receive the Ontario portion of OSAP funding. The grant reduces the amount of OSAP loan funding that a student receives. Eligible students may receive a combination of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Grant 3 and/or an Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards to cover up to 50% of their tuition fees to a maximum of $3,000. For more information, see https://osap.gov.on.ca/osapportal/en/a-zlistofaid/prdr html 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care Participating colleges and universities in Ontario 4 provide funding to cover the remaining 50% of tuition fees up to $3,000 (for a total of $6,000) for students who are eligible for the Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards. The tuition aid provided by the school does not reduce the amount of OSAP full-time funding that a student is eligible to receive; Ancillary/compulsory fees are not covered by program; The ministry notifies participating schools of students who are eligible. The school issues a cheque for their portion of the funding or reduces the amount of tuition fees that eligible students pay. For more information, see https://osap.gov.on.ca/osapportal/en/a-zlistofaid/prdr html 1 Ontario Access Grant: Covers up to 50% of tuition fees for eligible students, to a maximum of $3,000/year for the first two years of a student s first postsecondary degree, diploma or certificate program that is at least two years in length. Students must be four years or less out of high school, and from a low to middle income family, and must be eligible for the Ontario portion of OSAP. 2 Individuals who are eligible for Continued Care and Support for Youth (formerly Extended Care and Maintenance) include youth who had Crown ward status that expired at age 18; were subject to a protection (formal) customary care agreement or a protection custody order at age 18; or were eligible for support under the Renewed Youth Support Program. 3 30% Off Ontario Tuition Grant: Helps with tuition costs for up to four years (or six years for students with permanent disabilities) for eligible students from families with a gross income $160,000 or less. Provides $865 per term for students in a degree program at a publicly-assisted college or university in Ontario (annual maximum of $1,730) and $395 per term for students in a certificate or diploma program at a publiclyassisted college in Ontario (annual maximum of $790). 4 Participating Colleges: Collège Boréal; Cambrian College; Canadore College; Humber College; La Cité Collégiale; Northern College; Sault College; Sheridan College. Participating Universities: Algoma University; Brock University; Carleton University; Lakehead University; Laurentian University; McMaster University; Nipissing University; OCAD University; University of Ontario Institute of Technology; University of Ottawa; Queen s University; Ryerson University; Saint Paul University; Trent University; University of Guelph; University of Toronto; University of Waterloo; University of Windsor; Western University; Wilfrid Laurier University; York University. October

2 Living and Learning Grant Provides $500 per month of full-time study to postsecondary students between the ages of 21 to 24 who were eligible for the Continued Care and Support for Youth allowance. The grant does not reduce the amount of OSAP loan and grant funding a student is eligible to receive. Who is eligible? Students must be a previous recipient of a Continued Care and Support for Youth allowance or would have been eligible to receive such allowance; and 21 to 24 years of age as of the first day of their current study period: Eligible students who turn 21 during their study period can receive the grant beginning the month after their 21st birthday; and eligible students who turn 25 during their study period will continue to receive the grant to the end of their current study period; Enrolled in a postsecondary program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate at a school in Canada approved for Ontario student loan purposes; or a school outside Canada approved for student loan purposes where the primary language of instruction is American Sign Language; Taking at least 60% of a full course load as determined by the school (or 40% of a full course load for students with a permanent disability); A resident of Ontario as required for OSAP Funding for Full-time Students; A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a protected person; and Not restricted from eligibility for Ontario student loans or Ontario student grants. How to Apply: Students who have submitted an OSAP Application for Full-Time Students are assessed for the grant. Students who choose not to submit an OSAP Application for Full-Time Students apply using the Application for the Living and Learning Grant. The ministry will issue the grant as a lump sum amount at the beginning of each term. OSAP Exemptions Students do not report the following on an OSAP Application: Continued Care and Support for Youth allowances; Savings created through the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent (OCBE) initiative; RESPs established using Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) funding. Study Period Income Exemption Bursaries provided by a Children s Aid Society and other awards and scholarships received by Crown wards and youth leaving care must be reported as income on the OSAP application (unless the funding is reported by the school). Ontario Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program This program covers the cost of college and university application fees for Crown wards and former Crown wards applying for their first college or university program. For more information and an application form, see Crown Ward Education Championship Teams Teams of educators, children's aid workers, and mentors are available in 21 communities covering all regions of Ontario to support Crown wards and former Crown wards through partnerships with Children's Aid Societies, school boards, colleges, universities, and employment services. The teams also provide services such as mentoring programs and workshops to help youth in and leaving care to transition into postsecondary education. October

3 Questions and Answers Ministry of Training, Q. Does income exceeding the OSAP exemptions reduce the loan or the grant portion of OSAP? A. Students are considered to have financial need for OSAP loan and/or grant funding if their allowable education expenses exceed their expected resources. Allowable education expenses include tuition fees, compulsory fees, books, supplies and equipment, a calculated living allowance and local travel allowance, and child care costs, if applicable. Expected resources include calculated contributions from the student s income in the pre-study and study period, parental income or spousal income, if applicable, and contributions from certain assets. Ontario and Canada conduct parallel, but distinct, need assessments. Some recognized costs and expected contributions are different between Ontario and Canada. When a student has need assessed under Canada s assessment, the student is provided with Canada assistance up to 60% of their federally-assessed need or the federal maximum assistance of $210 per week of study. Canada s assistance is then considered a resource in Ontario s need assessment. When a student still has need assessed under Ontario s assessment, the student is provided with Ontario assistance up to the Ontario maximum assistance of $150 per week of study for single students or $350 per week of study for married students and sole support parents. Study period income includes employment income, as well as scholarships and bursaries. The study period income exemption is $111 per week of study for the Ontario assessment (increases annually by inflation) and $100 per week of study for the Canada assessment (not indexed). A student s study period income in excess of the exemption is considered a resource and it reduces the amount of the student s financial need. In general, when a student s financial need is reduced, the first impact is on unmet need if any (see below), then the amount of Ontario and Canada loan funding that the student will be eligible to receive is reduced, and only after that is grant funding typically reduced. A student s specific impact, however, depends on the student s specific situation and the mix of federal and provincial loan and grant funding for which the student meets the eligibility requirements. A student has unmet need if their financial need exceeds the amount of loan and grant they are assessed eligible to receive. For example: Student A is a single student enrolled in university. His financial need (allowable costs less resources) = $14,000. He is assessed eligible for a total of $10,240 in loan and $2,000 in Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards. Therefore, his unmet need is $14,000 ($10,240 + $2,000) = $1,760. This student could receive additional study period income of $1,760 with no impact on his OSAP funding. Students should be advised to use the OSAP Aid Estimator on the OSAP website to see the impact of increasing their study period income. Q. How will being adopted (parental income) or married (spousal income) affect eligibility for 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care? October

4 A. Parental or spousal income is a resource that is taken into consideration in the OSAP need assessment. To be eligible for the Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards (and the 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care), a student must meet the eligibility requirements for the grant and have financial need under Ontario s need assessment. Married or common-law students have 70% of their spouse s net income counted as a resource in the need assessment. Parental contributions depend on the student s family size, parental income, and number of students in full-time postsecondary studies. These details can be provided if you d like. Students should be advised to use the OSAP Aid Estimator on the OSAP website to see the impact of their parents or spouse s income. Q. Are Aboriginal youth who receive band funding for post-secondary education eligible for these supports? A. Band funding, through the Postsecondary Student Support Program, is considered a direct resource that reduces the student s financial need for OSAP loan and grant funding. As described above, the actual impact of Band funding depends on the amount of funding the student receives and other variable factors in the student s specific situation. Students should be advised to use the OSAP Aid Estimator on the OSAP website to see the impact of their parents or spouse s income. Q. Do youth have to apply for loan portion of OSAP or is it possible to only apply for grants? A. It is not currently possible to apply for only OSAP grants. Students who do not wish to keep loan may immediately repay their loan by making a payment to the National Student Loans Service Centre. Students should be advised to contact the National Student Loans Service Centre at The Ministry is working to develop an option over the next year or two that would allow students to elect to receive only their grant entitlement or to cap the amount of loan they want to be disbursed. Q. Are older students who may be returning to school already having a diploma or degree eligible for 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care for up to 4 years? A. To be considered for the Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards and the 100% Tuition Aid, students must be enrolled in a first-entry degree, diploma or certificate program (not second entry programs like law or medicine or graduate programs), but it does not have to be their first time in postsecondary studies. The Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards and the 100% Tuition Aid for Youth Leaving Care is available for a maximum of four years. For clarity, there are no age limitations for either program. Q. Would students who may only be able to attend school part time have access to any supports? A. The Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards and the 100% Tuition Aid programs are for students who are enrolled in full-time studies and submit an OSAP Application for Full-time Students. Full-time studies are defined as at least 60% of a full course load or 40% for students with disabilities. Students who are enrolled in part-time studies should be October

5 encouraged to apply for the OSAP Funding for Part-time students, which includes a combination of loan and non-repayable grant funding. Q. Does adoption, marital status or band funding affect eligibility for the Living and Learning Grant? A. To be eligible for the LLG, a student must have been eligible for the Continued Care and Support for Youth program when they were between the ages of 18 to 21. Eligibility for Continued Care and Support for Youth (formerly Extended Care and Maintenance) includes youth who had Crown ward status that expired at age 18; were subject to a protection (formal) customary care agreement or a protection custody order at age 18 or were eligible for support under the Renewed Support for Youth program. Receipt of band funding has no impact on the Living and Learning Grant. Q. Is there an alternative approach to the requirement for pre-payment (hold your spot) fees for youth from care? A. Currently, there is no system-wide policy on when Ontario postsecondary institutions can require tuition deposits or full payment of tuition fees. These dates are established at the institutional level and, therefore, can vary greatly depending on which institution a student attends. The Ministry is aware that this is a cause of concern for many students. In the summer of 2012, the Ministry engaged stakeholders (e.g., universities, colleges and student groups) on tuition-related issues including tuition deposits, subsequent payments and associated deadline dates. As part of the follow-up to these consultations, we released the Ministry s plan for moving forward on each of the issues discussed with the stakeholders. The Ministry is currently meeting with stakeholders to obtain feedback on its proposed plan to move forward and to address any outstanding concerns. Following these meetings, the Ministry will finalize its recommendations this winter to create a fair, transparent and consistent tuition payment process for all students attending publiclyassisted institutions. The Ministry will work with institutions to ensure that payment processes do not penalize students who cannot make their tuition payments in full by a certain date, including students who must defer tuition payments until their OSAP disbursement is received. We expect to finalize this work over the next couple of months and anticipate implementing changes over the coming academic years. Q. Is it possible to develop special provisions for students who have attempted college or university in the past and have failed? A. To continue to be eligible for OSAP for Full-time Students, students are required to meet minimum academic progress requirements. Students who fail to meet minimum academic requirements during one academic year are place on academic probation for the next academic year. Students may receive OSAP funding while they are on academic probation. Students who fail to meet minimum academic progress requirements while on probation are restricted from receiving OSAP funding for at least one academic year. If they keep their loans in good standing while on restriction, they can reapply for OSAP when the restriction period is over. October

6 Students who failed to meet minimum academic requirements due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control may contact their financial aid office to request a review to have the probation or restriction removed from their file. October

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