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 studies award! Below is information on what you can anticipate when receiving a graduate student award. Please contact your department graduate co-ordinator for any questions you have about your specific award 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). 
  2. Award disbursements begin within Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) on the first Friday following the start of term; this process is run once a week each Friday for the remainder of the term. If you are not seeing your award on Quest, contact your department graduate co-ordinator
  3. Your award will first be used to pay 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. 
  4. Any credit balances will be refunded to you (see refund details on the SFS website).
  5. Awards are disbursed once a term as a one-time payment (i.e., not on a monthly basis) while earnings (TA/RA) are paid monthly, the last Friday of each month.
  6. Your graduate award and fees are determined based  on your registration status; should your enrolment status change, there may be implications to your awards. Contact your department graduate co-ordinator for specific details.