Free tuition you say? The scoop on the new OSAP program

Coins from a change jar

You’ve probably seen the Ontario government’s ads for free tuition (you know, the one with the creepy monkey on the student’s back?). If you’re a returning student and already have some government aid through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), or even if you’re applying for OSAP for the first time, you might have questions about what this means for you.

The background

In 2016, the Ontario budget announced changes to the structure and delivery of government-funded student loans and grants for post-secondary students. Being executed in stages through the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic years, these changes have the potential to increase access to post-secondary education for students from low- and middle-income families, by making average tuition for the majority of eligible students (whose parents make a combined household income of less than $50,000 per year), free.

Internally here at OCAD U, these changes are referred to as Net Tuition. This term simply means that a student’s up-front OSAP grant — as well as any aid provided by the institution through our Financial Aid & Awards office — will be taken into consideration when calculating your bill. (Don’t get me started on the incredible complexities this involves, but suffice it to say there is a tremendous effort underway by a team of staff from OCAD U’s Financial Aid and Finance offices, the Office of the Registrar, IT Services, and Marketing & Communications to realize these changes and make it relatively straightforward for you).

What it means for you

You will receive communication through My OCAD U Records in the Portal on what is owed once the value of your OSAP and any other institutional scholarships and bursaries have been deducted. Stay tuned for more information explaining the new look of your financial statements.

These changes will benefit students in a number of ways, including:

  • Increased clarity and transparency about the out-of-pocket cost of tuition
  • Improved financial planning
  • Simplified payments process
  • More informed postsecondary education decision making

Still got questions? Get in touch with our Financial Aid & Awards office in the Student Services Centre, 5th floor of 230 Richmond Street West, at or 416-977-6000, Ext. 250. You can also follow Financial Aid & Awards on Twitter and Instagram.