Continuation of Interest-Free Status (CIFS)
If you’re back in school full-time and have previous OSAP loans, then you must ensure that they are placed into interest-free status. When your loans are in interest-free status, you don’t have to make payments on the interest and principal.
The Continuation of Interest-Free Status Application is the way the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) is notified that you’re back in full-time studies. If your application is approved, your new study period dates (known as your “confirmed study period”) will be provided to the NSLSC and/or the financial institution(s) holding your full-time OSAP loans.
Definition: Full-time studies
Who is eligible
To be eligible for CIFS, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have outstanding full-time loans issued from OSAP. This includes:
- Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loans (COISL)
- Canada Student Loans (issued before August 1, 2000)
- Ontario Student Loans (issued before August 1, 2001)
- You are now in full-time studies or within 15 days of starting full-time studies.
- You meet the following eligibility requirements:
You can apply for interest-free status if you are enrolled in a postsecondary school approved for OSAP purposes.
If you are enrolled at an Ontario secondary school (high school) or a private postsecondary school in Ontario not on the list of approved schools, you can also apply for interest-free status consideration.
Program and Study Period Length
- To be considered for interest-free status, your study period must be between 6 and 52 weeks long.
- All aspects of your study period, including co-op work terms and work placements, can be included for interest-free status consideration provided your program is:
- approved for full-time OSAP purposes and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate; or
- academic upgrading at a public college or university in Ontario (e.g., high school equivalency programs, English or French as a second language, pre-university programs); or
- a pre-requisite program for admission into either a university graduate studies program or a second entry level degree program.
The following programs are not eligible for interest-free status consideration:
- Practical training required for acceptance in a professional corporation, trade or profession (e.g., a medical internship or residency, a dietetic internship).
- Practical training in excess of the hours required for your program's degree, diploma or certificate requirements.
- The licensing process through the Law Society of Upper Canada or equivalent. (Exception: Students in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Law Practice Program at Ryerson University or the University of Ottawa may be eligible. Contact your financial aid office for details.)
When to apply
The earliest you can apply is 15 days before the start of your study period.
How to apply
Use the Continuation of Interest-Free Status Application. There are now two ways to apply:
Your application must be received by your financial aid office no later than 21 days before the end of your study period.
Enrolment Confirmation Deadline
Your enrolment confirmation must be received by the ministry before the end of your study period.
What happens after you apply
If your application is approved, your existing full-time loans from OSAP may be eligible to be placed into interest-free status. The National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) and/or the financial institution(s) holding your previous student loans will be notified of your new study period information.
Note: The length of your interest-free status period could be affected if your loans were already in repayment status when your application was approved:
- Ontario Student Loans and the Ontario portion of your COISL: You may be eligible for interest-free status for your entire study period provided that your loans are in good standing.
- Canada Student Loans and the Canada portion of your COISL: Your interest-free period begins the date your application is approved. You’ll have to pay the interest that accrued on your loans from the start of your current study period until the date your application was approved.
Follow up with the NSLSC and/or the financial institutions holding your previous student loans to verify the interest-free status period applied to your full-time loans.
If Your Study Period Status Changes
Your eligibility for interest-free status will be impacted if you withdraw from full-time studies or reduce your course load to less than 60 per cent of a full course load (or 40 per cent if you are a student with a permanent disability).
You must notify your financial aid office or the ministry immediately of any changes to your study period.
Checking your application status
Log into the OSAP website to see the current status of your application.