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OSAP & Federal-Provincial Student Loans

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OSAP funds at least one third of Innis undergraduate students, and still more are funded by government student loans from other provinces. What follows here are links to apply for, and get information about OSAP, and helpful pages re. other provincial-federal loan possibilities.

 

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UTAPS

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The University of Toronto Advance Planning for Students (UTAPS) is a program known especially for providing grants to OSAP recipients, as well as recipients of other provincial student loans, to top up their funding to help cover needs unmet by the loan programs. This can include students who total need simply exceeds the maximum possible funding from OSAP, and students who receive OSAP but not enough to defray the costs of deregulated fees from programs in Computer Science or Commerce.

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Work Study

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The work study program at U of T is a special slate of University-sponsored, part-time work available to students both in the Fall/Winter Session and in the Summer Session. It is especially useful for students who need convenient part time work, usually on campus, during their studies, and can afford some very valuable experience in the process. Students do not need to be OSAP eligible to apply for Work Study.

The job listings themselves appear on the Career Centre website and applying for these jobs follows the same process as any job application – you follow the instructions and send off your résumé and cover letter to the contact person given. If you are interviewed and land the job, your (new) employer and you fill in special forms to finalize the position.

There are eligibility criteria to hold a work study position, both in terms of your studies (you must be full time) and the dates when these jobs are offered.

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Scholarships

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Scholarships, unless offered to you under renewable conditions, may be harder to predict with assurance. In many cases even if you perform very well academically or put in a great application, you likely will not know who else is being considered. Even if you find that you understand the terms of certain awards and have assurance you will qualify, sometimes even the value of awards may vary. So it is a tricky component of any planned budget.

That said, what is worth remembering is that you should keep your eyes and ears open to scholarship opportunities both on campus and off. And if you are receiving OSAP or another government student loan, you may be eligible for awards based on “financial need”.

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Innis College Bursaries

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Innis College has some funding available for students to help with emergency financial need. Additionally, there does exist, for rare cases, emergency funding even for international students. Complete the the U of T Grant Application, which can be found on ACORN, and book an appointment with the Innis College Financial Aid Counselor, Daniela Pirraglia, for more information on this option.

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Other Student Loans

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In some cases a student may wish to fall back on other student loan options outside of OSAP or provincial student loan programs. The terms of such loans are not usually better, as loans, than those offered through government programs – but they do come, often, with fewer rules to qualify. And in very rare cases where a student might not qualify for OSAP but are still financially needy, it may be a critical requirement. Every major Canadian bank offers some kind of student loan or student line of credit option, so you can Google around to see what is there. We typically recommend starting with whatever institution you and/or your parents bank with, but shopping around will help you secure the best rate.

There also can be loan options for students from other countries. One we see regularly, for students out of the United States, are US Federal Student Loan programs.

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Credit Cards

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Credit cards are not used best as a permanent solution or a vehicle for long term debt. They also can, because they are easy to get and use, become part of the problem. If you face any kind of financial constraint or are even finding yourself in short fall, make sure you exhaust EVERY other option before leaning on the credit card, and have a disciplined plan for paying it off afterwards. Accumulated credit card debt can be crushing and compromise your long term financial stability.

You can even meet with the Financial Aid Counselor to talk about your situation if you find yourself tempted to use, or actively using your credit card, with no assured way of paying it back.

That said – it is a tool, and can be used strategically and effectively. The key is using it with a precise sense of when it will be paid down, and to stick to such a plan with discipline and care.

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