Impacts of Course Withdrawal on OSAP
When dropping courses, it is important to consider the impacts that these actions may have on your OSAP assessment. To navigate this page quickly, use the links below:
- Why Do Course Withdrawals Affect OSAP Entitlements?
- Potential Impacts of Course Withdrawals on OSAP
- Academic Progress
- OSAP Overpayments
- Grant-to-Loan Conversion
- Steps to Follow When Dropping Courses
- Making Payments to the NSLSC
Why Do Course Withdrawals Affect OSAP Entitlements?
When you initially apply for OSAP, you are applying under a certain set of circumstances, based on the information you include in your application. Additionally, the assessment that is completed based on your application, as well as the funding that you receive as a result of this assessment, is based on the courses you are registered for in each respective term.
By dropping courses, you are changing the circumstances under which your application was assessed, and thus you may be entitled to less funding as a result of taking fewer courses.
Potential Impacts of Course Withdrawal(s) on OSAP
When dropping courses, you are changing your course load. To remain eligible for Full-Time OSAP funding, you must remain in at least a 60% course load over the length of the term (or a 40% course load for students with a permanent disability registered with OSAP (PD)). At Lakehead, a 60% course load is considered 1.5 FCEs over one term (i.e. 4 months) (a 40% course load is considered 1.0 FCEs).
I am dropping a class, but I will remain above a 60% course load (40% course load for students with a PD)
If you drop courses, but remain in at least a 60% course load (or 40% for students with a PD), you remain eligible for Full-Time OSAP, however your assessment could change depending on how many courses you drop.
- After dropping, if you are still registered in 4.0 FCEs or more over the Fall and Winter terms combined (and you are enrolled in 1.5 FCEs or more each term), your OSAP entitlement will not change, and you do not need to do anything further.
- After dropping, if you are registered in 3.0 FCEs or 3.5 FCEs over the Fall and Winter terms combined (and you are enrolled in 1.5 FCEs or more each term), your OSAP entitlement will likely change, and you will need to contact Student Central for information on the specific impacts to your OSAP.
I am dropping a class, and will be falling below a 60% course load (40% course load for students with a PD)
If after dropping courses you fall below a 60% course load (or 40% for students with a PD), you become ineligible for Full-Time OSAP in that term. This means that as of the date that you fall below a 60% course load (40% course load for students with a PD), you are no longer eligible for Full-Time OSAP, and your OSAP assessment will be adjusted. This can have several affects, including Academic Probation or Academic Restrictions, as well as OSAP Overpayments and Grant to Loan Conversions. For more information on these affects, see below.
OSAP Eligibility Chart
To determine your eligibility for Full-Time OSAP, consider what your course load will be after dropping the courses you wish, and use the table below for the respective impacts on your eligibility and entitlement.
For Students with a registered Permanent Disability with OSAP, replace 1.5 FCEs with 1.0 FCEs
|Lakehead Course Load Over the Fall AND Winter Terms Combined|
Full-Time = 4.0 FCEs or more
Part-Time = Less than 4.0 FCEs
|OSAP Eligibility & Impacts on Entitlement|
|Fall Registration||Winter Registration|
|Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Full-Time||Eligible for Full-Time OSAP|
No Change to OSAP Entitlement
|Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Part-Time||Eligible for Full-Time OSAP|
Potential Change to OSAP Entitlement
|Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Less than 1.5 FCEs||Full-Time or Part-Time||Eligible for Full-Time OSAP in Fall term only.|
|Less than 1.5 FCEs||Equal to or greater than 1.5 FCEs||Full-Time or Part-Time||Eligible for Full-Time OSAP in Winter term only.|
|Less than 1.5 FCEs||Less than 1.5 FCEs||Part-Time||Ineligible for Full-Time OSAP|
When dropping below a 60% course load (or 40% for students with a PD), you are at risk of receiving an Academic Progress restriction. This could include being placed on Academic Probation (can still apply for and receive OSAP the following year), or being placed on Academic Restriction (cannot receive funding for at least one OSAP Academic year)
For more information about OSAP Academic Progress requirements and restrictions, visit the OSAP Academic Probation & Restrictions page.
When dropping below a 60% course load (or 40% for students with a PD), this also has an effect on your current OSAP entitlement. Specifically, since your original OSAP assessment was based on a higher course load, you would have originally been assessed and funded to cover full-time tuition and fees, plus living expenses. With a change to your course load, OSAP must reassess your application, taking into account the reduced course load.
In particular, after updating your OSAP application with the new course load, OSAP determines how much funding you originally received, and how much funding you are now entitled to. Since you now have a reduced course load, your new entitlement is typically lower than how much you were originally assessed for. As such, any amount of funding that you received above your new entitlement is considered an OSAP overpayment.
OSAP Overpayment Restrictions
If you receive an OSAP Overpayment, you could be at risk of receiving an Overpayment Restriction. In particular, an Overpayment Restriction is imposed when either of the following criteria are met:
- A student receives three (3) or more overpayments of $2,000.00 or more, OR
- A student receives $10,000.00 or more in overpayments, regardless of the number of instances
How to Avoid Overpayment Restrictions
To avoid receiving an OSAP Overpayment Restriction, students have the option to pay back their entire funding amount, prior to the end of the term. In doing so, the OSAP Overpayment will not be considered an instance, and will not be added to the overall Overpayment balance.
How to Remove Overpayment Restrictions
If a student receives an Overpayment Restriction, the student must do one of the following in order to remove the restriction, prior to receiving any future OSAP funding:
- If the student received three (3) instances of overpayments in the amount of $2,000.00, but their total overpayments are less than $10,000.00, then $2,000.00 must be repaid to remove the Overpayment Restriction.
- If the student's total overpayments total more than $10,000.00, the student must pay down their total overpayments to $8,000.00.
Normally, grants through OSAP are money you don’t need to pay back. However, the government may convert all or part of your OSAP grants to a loan if:
- you withdraw from studies within the first 30 days of starting school and don’t return as a full-time student within 5 months in the same academic year
- at the end of the study period, as a result of an OSAP reassessment, you’re not entitled to all or part of the grant that you received (e.g., dropped courses)
- the income reported on your application can’t be verified within one year from the start of your studies (Ontario Student Grant only)
If your grant is converted to a loan, it is:
- added to your loan balance
- included in the monthly loan payment you’ll make once you’re done school
Steps to Follow When Dropping Courses
When dropping courses, if you will be changing your course load in any way, we recommend reaching out to Student Central to discuss the impacts to your OSAP. Speaking with Student Central will allow for your OSAP to be adjusted right away, and will provide an opportunity for a Student Central Professional to advise on the impacts of your funding. Failing to notify Student Central of your changes in registration will simply delay the adjustment to your OSAP, often leaving you with less time to complete any required tasks that may prevent certain restrictions moving forward.
Making Payments to the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC)
If you are restricted from receiving OSAP due to an overpayment restriction, you will need to make a payment to the NSLSC prior to any further OSAP funding being released. To do so, contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1 888 815-4514 (within North America) or 800 2 225-2501 (outside North America) for assistance with making a payment, or setting up your NSLSC account.