Ontario student assistance funding goes electronic

Waiting in line to pick up their financial aid funding may have been a rite of passage for university students, says an official with the UWindsor student awards office, but it will soon be a thing of the past.

Starting this fall semester, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) will disburse monies through an Electronic Funds Transfer system.

Marian Doll, the University’s acting director of Student Awards and Financial Aid, called it a “major step forward” and said her office is working closely with Information Technology Services to implement the new system.

“Our staff will be challenged to confirm enrolment for thousands of students within a very short time period—a process that used to stretch out over several weeks,” Doll said.

Since June 1, the office has fielded more than 5,000 inquiries from students and has processed over 3,200 OSAP and Ontario Tuition Grant applications, with more flowing in each day.

“We will continue to work on our processes over the next year in an attempt to work towards being in a position to provide students with more value-added services at term start-up and on an ongoing basis,” Doll said. “That can be difficult to do when we are also dealing with hundreds of inquiries and requests for assistance per day.”

Under the new system, once students have completed all paperwork and the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office has provided the government with confirmation of their enrolment, funds can flow directly into student accounts. This will normally take place shortly after classes commence.

For those students paying tuition and fees with OSAP, funds will continue to be transferred to the University as they have in the past—provided the student has agreed to this process. Additional information regarding how this process will work is available on the Student Awards and Financial Aid Web site.