Plz see beneath. Just $3600 for 2019-2020 school year!!?!!? This is too niggling and half-baked!
What if student is living away from home? Accomodation and private rent cost way more!
What if US or UK college gives financial aid, but not 100%, to student? OSAP doesn't cover 100% US or UK tuition fees. Thus it's perfectly reasonable to save more than $3600!
If you want OSAP, liquidate your TFSA. If you want a TFSA kiss OSAP goodbye.
I have several thousand in a high interest TFSA as an emergency fund.
If it is only several thousand you have no concern because they expect you to contribute $3000 to your own education and they don't care if if comes from savings or employment earnings. Even if it is more than several thousand (and you are a dependent student) then it won't affect your federal or Ontario loans or federal grants. It might affect your Ontario grants. The Ontario grants are primarily based on parental income but they will be reduced if they determine that you have sufficient funding.
Why does the government care if my money is in a TFSA, stocks, bonds, etc vs HISA?
They don't. You do have to report money that is in a HISA. The application reads,
On the OSAP application form you will report assets so whether you have the money in a chequing account, TFSA account or piggy bank you should report it. Whether or not the value or your assets will affect the loans and grants they offer you will depend on how much assets you have. Starting next year student are expected to contribute $3600 to their own education so assets below that amount shouldn't affect the amount of funding you are offered. If you have assets above your annual education and living expenses it would be reasonable to expect that they would affect the amount of funding they offer.