What Are Scholarships and Bursaries?

What is a Scholarship?

Scholarships may be awarded based on academic merit, extracurricular activities or other distinctions. Scholarships may also have a financial need component.

Unlike with a loan, you do not have to pay back scholarship money. Some scholarships require you to complete an application; for others, you are automatically considered. It is important to know the difference when you apply.

Useful Scholarship Terms

  • Application required: You must submit an application to be considered for the scholarship.
  • Application not required: You are automatically considered for the scholarship when you apply to the university. An example would be entrance scholarships, which are based on academic merit (usually your high school grades).
  • Renewable: A scholarship that can be awarded to you yearly, as long as you continue to meet all of the requirements.
  • Non-renewable: A scholarship that is awarded for 1 year only. Schools that provide these scholarships often offer additional upper-year scholarships that may not be highlighted until you are at that university.

View OUInfo for a list of Ontario university scholarships.

Most universities also provide lists or search tools to help you look for scholarships. You can usually find these on their financial aid office websites. You can also contact the Indigenous student centre at your university for support when applying for scholarships.

Read more information about scholarships at each university.

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What is a Bursary?

A bursary is money awarded based on financial need that you do not have to pay back. You may also need to provide a budget to demonstrate financial need as part of the application process.

There are many ways to search for bursaries. You may find the following resources and organizations useful in your search:

  • The Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of more than 750 scholarships and bursaries across Canada, provided by donors and foundations to support Indigenous students in their studies.
  • The Métis Nation of Ontario offers Métis students a list of available scholarships and bursaries. Visit their website to view this list and for more information about how to apply.
  • Indspire is an Indigenous-led charity that provides scholarships and bursaries for Indigenous students attending postsecondary education. Visit Indspire’s website for information about types of financial aid and their application deadlines.

You can also visit or call the Indigenous student centre at your university for more information about bursaries and their application process.

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