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Award eligibility, conditions and payments

General award information

The Graduate Awards area of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) works closely with departments and Faculties to advertise, adjudicate and administer a variety of awards for graduate students. Awards can be based on academic performance, excellence in research, financial need, or a combination of selection criteria. Students in financial need are encouraged to visit the financial need funding page for funding opportunities.

Graduate awards can be funded through a variety of sources including institutional operating budget, funding from external agencies and gifts from generous donors. The University of Waterloo is committed to attracting and rewarding talented students and to ensuring that all qualified students have access to the best university education and experience possible. Our generous donors are essential to achieving this goal. The Office of Advancement works with donors to establish scholarships, awards and bursaries to help recognize and support outstanding and deserving students at Waterloo. For additional information, please visit the Office of Advancement web page.

General award eligibility

Although each award will have its own eligibility criteria as documented in formal terms of reference, below are some typical standard criteria:

  • Scholarship and award candidates will normally be required to have achieved a minimum overall academic average of 80% or equivalent.
  • Bursary candidates will normally be required to be in satisfactory academic standing in their program.
  • Award recipients must normally be registered full time in their graduate program.
  • Some awards have specific immigration status conditions. Any change in immigration status must be reported to GSPA by submission of appropriate documentation.

General award conditions

  • All awards and values are subject to change at any time depending on available funding and conditions.
  • Waterloo awards are normally only tenable for full-time study for the assigned academic term and graduate program held at the University of Waterloo.
  • change of enrolment status (Graduate Studies forms website) to part-time or inactive, or for a program completion or withdrawal may require repayment of the award. Repayment amounts are calculated based on the University of Waterloo's tuition and fee refund deadlines.
  • Receipt of certain major internal or external awards may result in an adjustment of your department funding package. Please contact your department graduate co-ordinator to discuss the possible impact.
  • All awards and earnings are considered income for OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) and University of Waterloo bursary programs.
  • If you are applying for government assistance (e.g., OSAP), you must report any scholarships as income as it could reduce your aid entitlement.
  • Recipients will be issued the appropriate T4A forms by the University in February each year.
  • Retention of applications and supporting documentation will be in accordance with the University's policies and guidelines on records management.
  • If no qualified applicant is found for a particular award in any year, the University reserves the right to withhold the award and will notify the donor.
  • Decisions made by award committees are final.

See the Graduate Studies Calendar for further information on fee payment instructions, withdrawals, program completion and refunds.

Graduate awards payments

Congratulations on being a recipient of a graduate award! Below is information on what you can anticipate when receiving your award. Please contact your department graduate co-ordinator for any specific questions you have or if you do not see the funding you were expecting on your Quest account. 

  1. All awards* are paid (disbursed) through your Quest account (see details on how to view your financial aid on the Quest website). If you do not see your award on Quest, contact your department graduate co-ordinator
  2. A graduate award disbursement process runs weekly on Wednesdays. Any awards on your Quest account at the time of disbursement will first be applied to your outstanding tuition and incidental fees, providing you have a registration status of `fees arranged’ (see fees arranged process on the Student Financial Services (SFS) website). If you are not fees arranged, you will risk not receiving your funding. 
  3. Unless there is a hold on your account (and provided you have set yourself up for direct deposit to a Canadian bank account in Quest before noon the day before the disbursement process runs), any credit balances related to awards, bursaries or scholarships will be processed weekly by Finance and will be refunded to you via EFT (direct deposit to the Canadian bank account you added on Quest). Please note it can take up to three business days for funds to be deposited into your bank account from when they are released by the University; students will normally be emailed a remittance advice from Finance when the funds have been released. Note: the University has no control over the banking system and is unable to guarantee when the amount will arrive in your bank account (for full details, please visit the see refund details on the SFS website).
  4. Scholarships are normally awarded on a term-by-term basis; the termly funding is applied as a lump sum, as opposed to earnings (TA/RA) which are paid monthly on the last Friday of each month.
  5. Your graduate awards and fees are determined based on your registration status; should your enrolment status change or if you fail to update your enrolment status, there may be implications to your awards and/or the timing of payment. Contact your department graduate co-ordinator for specific details.   

*Future term awards may appear on your account, but will not disburse until after the term has started and provided you have arranged your fees for that term.