Scholarships and Bursaries

Quick Links

What is a Scholarship?

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.

They may be awarded based on:

  • academic merit,
  • extracurricular activities or
  • other distinctions.

Scholarships may also have a financial need component.

Common 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. For example, entrance scholarships are based on academic merit (usually your high school grades).
  • Renewable: A scholarship that can be awarded to you annually, 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.

To search for a list of Ontario university scholarships, visit the OUInfo scholarships database.

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.

Top of Page

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.

You may find the following resources and organizations useful in your search for bursaries:

  • The Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of more than 750 scholarships and bursaries across Canada.
  • The Métis Nation of Ontario offers Métis students a list of available scholarships and bursaries.
  • Indspire is an Indigenous-led charity that provides scholarships and bursaries for Indigenous students attending postsecondary education.

Reach out to the Indigenous student centre at your university for more information about bursaries and how to apply to them,

Top of Page

Search for Awards

After you apply to university, begin to look for scholarships, bursaries and awards. The OUInfo scholarships database can help you in your search for general and university-specific awards.

Remember to also contact your university’s Indigenous student centre and financial aid office for more information about available university scholarships.

Top of Page

Make Sure You Qualify

Many scholarships are designed for people who:

  • belong to a particular Indigenous community,
  • have achieved academic or sporting excellence and/or
  • plan to study in a certain field or at a certain level.

Read through the scholarship, bursary or award information carefully to make sure you meet the application criteria.

Top of Page

Gather Your Information

To apply for a scholarship, bursary or award, you will usually need to fill out forms and provide documents to support your application.

You will want to start your application sooner rather than later, because it might take some time to obtain/order required documents (such as an academic transcript) or contact your references.

Some documents and information you may be asked to provide include:

  • Academic transcripts
  • Letter of acceptance from your school
  • List of references
  • Personal statement
  • Proof of citizenship or residency status
  • Proof of community involvement, financial need or ancestry

Top of Page

Get Organized

List all the scholarships, bursaries and awards that are applicable to you, and include:

  • their application deadlines,
  • the required supporting documents (such as an academic transcript) and
  • how and when you will get these documents.

Keep in mind you can re-purpose pieces of your application, since most applications require similar information. You do not have to start each application from scratch!

Top of Page

Do a Final Check and Apply

Check, check and check again. Use this checklist to make sure you are ready to submit your application.

Scholarship and Awards Application Checklist

  • Fill out the application forms carefully.
  • Check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Provide all the required supporting documents.
  • Ask someone to check your application. That person might notice something you missed.
  • Meet the deadlines.
  • Make copies of every application you send and save them for your own reference.
  • Provide current contact details.

Top of Page

Back to Top