We offer many funding opportunities to graduate students who demonstrate financial need. This funding includes:

Academic Readiness Bursary

The Academic Readiness Bursary (ARB) provides financial support to students with proven financial need who may incur expenses between November 1 and January 31, 2021, that are related to studying remotely in the winter 2021 term, as a result of COVID-19.

Applications will be received until January 30, 2021. The continuation of this bursary for the winter 2021 term has been made possible through significant support from the University of Waterloo.

Funding is limited, so to support as many students as possible, the bursary will not exceed $500 per student (additional support may be considered if you have dependents).

Details about the fund, including application forms and application deadlines are available on the COVID-19 Academic Readiness Bursary (ARB) web page.

Student Emergency Support Fund

The Student Emergency Support Fund was established to help current students, specifically full time undergraduate and graduate domestic and international students, as well as part time students.

Limited funds were available to help students who incurred unexpected critical costs in the months of March and April that were a direct result of COVID-19. In order to try and assist as many students as possible who have an immediate need, the amount of emergency support provided did not exceed $500 per student (additional support may have been considered if there were dependents). Applications were accepted up until May 31, 2020. The fund is now closed; students who may or may have incurred costs related to COVID-19 are encouraged to review the Academic Readiness Bursary details.

Graduate Student Thesis Completion Award

The Graduate Student Thesis Completion Award was established to support graduate students whose research work has been disrupted by COVID-19 such that existing funding sources have been expended or discontinued. This award will support thesis-based graduate students (both master’s and doctoral) who are within their last two terms of program completion (term of award plus one additional term) and will allow them to focus on completing their thesis. This award is made possible through a joint initiative between the Graduate Studies Endowment Fund (GSEF), the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the University of Waterloo. The application deadline for this award has now passed.

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

OSAP provides various types of assistance based on financial need to eligible students. This assistance is intended to supplement, not to replace, the resources of students and their families. Although assistance is not based on academic standing, students are expected to make satisfactory progress in their studies.

Note: Students from provinces other than Ontario must apply for government student aid through their home provinces.

Detailed information including application forms and deadlines is available on the OSAP website or by visiting the Student Awards & Financial Aid Office website.

Graduate Student Bursary

Bursaries are available to full-time Waterloo graduate students experiencing short term financial need and are meant to financially assist with basic needs and educational expenses only.

Graduate Student Bursaries for graduate students who are Canadian or Permanent Residents of Canada and are administered by the Student Awards and Financial Aid (SAFA) office. Further information including the Graduate Student Bursary application can be found on the SAFA website.

Graduate Studies Parental Leave Bursary

The University of Waterloo will provide an eight-month birth and parental leave (includes adoption) bursary to eligible graduate students. The bursary, together with any other continuing support, is intended to maintain income at about 95% of the average level of income received by the student during the three previous academic terms, less tuition.  The maximum value of the bursary is $5,000 for the first term and $3,000 for the second term.   For further details or to apply see the Graduate Studies parental leave bursary guidelines on the Graduate Studies forms website.

Graduate Student Day Care Bursary

Full-time graduate students may be eligible to receive funding to assist with day care expenses. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need. Students interested in applying for this bursary must complete a Graduate Student Day Care Bursary application (Graduate Studies forms website) and submit it to Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Graduate Student Medical Leave Award

Eligible research-based master’s and doctoral students who must go inactive for medical reasons (e.g., physical or mental health) may be eligible to receive a Graduate Student Medical Leave Award, valued at a maximum of $5,000. To initiate the process in order to automatically be considered for this award, students must complete a Change of enrolment status form and submit the appropriate documentation. For further information refer to the Graduate Medical Leave Award description in the Graduate funding and awards database.

Graduate Student Contingency Bursary

The purpose of the Graduate Student Contingency Bursary is to provide short term financial assistance to eligible international students. To be considered, complete a Graduate Student Contingency application (Graduate Studies forms website) and submit it to Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Emergency loans

Interest-free emergency loans are available to full-time graduate students who are experiencing short-term financial difficulty. These loans are not meant to provide funding for arranging fees to become registered. Loans must be re-paid by the end of the term, and proof of an acceptable form of repayment must be provided.

To be considered for an emergency loan please complete an Emergency Loan Application form and upload the required documents.

Waterloo needs-based awards

These awards are based partially or solely on demonstrated financial need. Many of these awards were established through generous contributions from private donors. For all awards (except the Catherine Booth and Michael Kirk Graduate Awad and the Inch Engineering Research Award), in order to be eligible applicants must:

  • be Canadian Citizens/Permanent Residents of Canada, as well as Ontario residents (must have resided in Ontario for 12 months prior to beginning their post-secondary education);
  • have applied for OSAP in the term in which the award is due unless restricted from applying; and
  • must have demonstrated financial need.

In order to be considered for these awards, carefully read the award description in the database and submit the appropriate application and documentation by the deadline provided.

Open to all Faculties/departments:

Department/discipline specific: