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Searching and applying for funding

Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) administers several student financial aid programs, including the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), a variety of in-house bursaries and scholarships, and provides information on external forms of student financial assistance. Visit the SAFA website for further details.

The primary place to look for sources of funding are both at your current and/or host post-secondary institution. Universities Canada (formerly Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) provides links to all recognized post-secondary institutions in the country.

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Student Awards and Financial Aid post information on their websites about internal and external awards as well as bursaries and loan programs.

We also encourage you to contact public and private organizations in your particular discipline/field of study to see if they offer funding opportunities. This includes associations, agencies, professional journals and the Ministry of Education in the province/state and country in which you wish to pursue your studies.

You should research as many funding sources as you can, learn the ones for which you may qualify and apply promptly each new school year. To be successful, you must be prepared to commit time and effort to searching for scholarships, requesting information, transcripts and letters of support, and preparing application forms and supporting documentation.

Applying for funding

To be eligible for external scholarships, students are expected to have strong academic records. A grade average of A- in the most recent two years of study (undergraduate and/or graduate coursework) is usually necessary. Applications will be strengthened by evidence of research capability, research experience and previous research awards. Evidence of community involvement and leadership skills are often taken into consideration as well.

Applications for external scholarships may be submitted directly to the organization providing the award, or applications may need to be submitted through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of the students' home university. In the latter instance, they may have to be ranked by a program and/or university committee. Internal application deadlines will be earlier than those posted by the granting agency in order to provide the university with sufficient time to complete the ranking process.

Holding an award is always conditional upon the student being registered in a program. Successful applicants always have the right to refuse an award. Therefore, even if you are only thinking of pursuing graduate studies, you should apply for all scholarships for which you are eligible.

All scholarship applications should be prepared with care. They must be typed and complete. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the application package, including all supporting documentation and signatures, arrives on time to meet posted deadlines. Applicants should check to see whether an award is renewable, or if a new application is required for subsequent years/terms.