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Changes in scholarship funding for graduate students announced in recent federal budget

Thursday, May 2, 2024

The recent federal budget announcement brings promising news for current and prospective graduate students at Canadian universities. As part of a comprehensive package to address the cost-of-living challenges and enhance Canada’s research capabilities, significant increases have been made to fund master's and doctoral student scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships. 

Increased tri-agency graduate scholarship amounts 

  • increase in the annual value of master’s scholarships to $27,000 annually
  • increase in doctoral scholarships to $40,000 annually 

Impact on tri-agency scholarship competitions 

With the introduction of increased funding, upcoming scholarship competitions may see adjustments in terms of eligibility, and the number of scholarships awarded. Specific details are still pending as the three federal granting agencies—NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR—await further directives from the government. We encourage students to stay tuned for upcoming announcements clarifying the application and selection processes under the new budget provisions. 

Existing scholarship recipients 

For students currently holding scholarships, it has not yet been confirmed whether the increases will be applied retroactively or only affect new awardees from the 2024-25 academic year onwards. The agencies have indicated that more information will be provided as it becomes available. Students currently receiving scholarships will receive communications on how these changes might impact their funding when information becomes available. 

Additional supports and provisions 

The budget also introduces enhancements in various other sectors that indirectly benefit graduate students, including initiatives aimed at increasing housing supply and affordability, and modernizing the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. These changes are designed to alleviate some of the financial pressures faced by students, making higher education more accessible. 

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