Tuition waiver for eligible Indigenous students

Artistic rendering of White Pine needles

Tuition waiver for eligible Indigenous students

The University of Waterloo will waive tuition for incoming and current Waterloo students who are members of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation or Six Nations of the Grand River.   

Indigenous students who are members of these bands (on whose traditional territory the University of Waterloo is situated) and who are pursuing studies in an undergradute or graduate program at Waterloo are eligible for this waiver. This is part of Waterloo’s active work toward reconciliation and is a response to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

We believe this is the first full-tuition waiver in Ontario for students who are members of local bands on whose traditional territory a university is situated. This initiative continues Waterloo’s efforts to build and strengthen the University’s relationship with the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the Credit.  

The tuition waiver will be effective as of fall 2023; this waiver cannot be applied to terms prior to fall 2023.  

Tuition for Indigenous students outside of Ontario

To further support access to education, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students from Canadian provinces and territories outside Ontario will be able to pay the same tuition as Ontario students. In recognition of the Jay Treaty, Native American students from the continental U.S. are also eligible for Ontario domestic tuition instead of international student tuition.  

To learn more about how residency affects tuition fees, please visit the Student Financial Services website.  

Requirements and validation

You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for the tuition waiver. 

  • You are pursuing studies in an undergraduate or graduate program at Waterloo. 
  • To qualify for the tuition waiver, you are a validated Indigenous student who is an enrolled member of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation or Six Nations of the Grand. 
  • To qualify for the domestic Ontario tuition, you are a validated First Nations, Métis, or Inuit student from Canadian provinces and territories outside Ontario or a Native American student from the continental U.S. 

Waterloo recognizes that identifying who is and who is not a member of an Indigenous community must be done by the community, not the University. For that reason, the validation process will rely on students submitting the accepted citizenship/membership cards that show they are an enrolled member of that community. 

In cases where no documentation exists, an Indigenous-led committee at Waterloo will consider tuition waiver requests on an individual basis. Students will be asked for a signed affidavit that outlines their claim and which includes a provision that if the information supplied proves false, that student’s tuition waiver, employment, award, etc. could be rescinded. Claimants for the tuition waiver may also be asked for familial references, and/or a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit-elected or traditional leader’s reference. 

The process to verify Indigenous identity is designed to help mitigate Indigenous identity fraud and ensure opportunities designated for Indigenous peoples are awarded to the people for whom they are intended. This verification process is not about an individual’s claim to Indigeneity but about which Indigenous community claims the individual, as well as the individual’s lived experiences of Indigeneity. The University’s Office of Indigenous Relations will work with Indigenous Councils and Bands as needed to support verification. If a student is found to have provided falsified information or documentation, they are subject to Policy 71 (Student Discipline) and may face penalty. 

For information about the process itself, and how validation will be assessed, visit the Indigenous Verification page.

How to submit Indigenous validation documents 

We’re pleased to share that you can now upload Indigenous validation documents via Quest to determine your eligibility for the tuition waiver.  

The Quest Indigenous Declaration form will also be used to determine eligibility for Ontario domestic tuition rates to out-of-province First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students and Native American students from the continental U.S. recognized by the Jay Treaty. 

In addition to tuition-related impacts, Indigenous Declaration information may also be used to consider eligibility for certain scholarships, bursaries, co-op work terms, etc. 

To help you navigate this process, there are a number of resources available:

  • For step-by-step instructions to completing the Indigenous Declaration and uploading validation documentation visit the Quest website

  • For information about the process itself, and how validation will be assessed, visit the Indigenous Verification page.

  • For information about how residency affects your tuition fees, tuition deadlines, and details about tuition fees in general, visit the Student Financial Services website

  • For general questions, please reach out to the Student Service Centre,, 519-888-4567, ext. 42268, or visit The Centre’s website.  

We recommend you complete the Quest Indigenous Declaration form as soon as you are able, however, for fall term tuition consideration, the form must be completed, and documentation validated by, October 31, 2023.

Bursaries, awards and scholarships

If you're like most students, you'll use multiple sources of money to pay for university. 

While scholarships are generally based on academic achievement, most loans, grants, and bursaries are based on financial need. But what does "financial need" mean? It's the difference between your costs (tuition, textbooks, housing and food, personal expenses, transportation) and what you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education.  

Learn more about the many financial aid opportunities for Indigenous students at Waterloo. 

Additional financial aid 

Financial assistance programs have become increasingly important with the rising cost of post-secondary education. Student Awards & Financial Aid provides the necessary programs, information and advice to assist students as they pursue their goals at Waterloo. Our programs include government aid, including OSAP; awards, scholarships and bursaries; as well as work-study opportunities.   

Student Awards & Financial Aid staff are committed to assisting students with honesty, integrity and respect. 

Sponsors and third-party funding  

Some Indigenous students may be funded for their studies by their band or other third-party sponsor. This is known as third-party sponsorship. Sponsorship may include tuition, incidental fees, including insurance, and living expenses. Not all fees charged to your Quest student account may be covered by your sponsor. If you or your sponsor would like to find out more about how sponsorship works please contact Student Financial Services using the Third Party Sponsorship form. 

If a sponsor or third-party will be paying some or all of your tuition, textbooks, incidental fees and/or university housing costs, you must complete the Promissory Note before the published deadline.  The Promissory Note is in Quest > Finances > Promissory Note. For additional information, please visit the Student Financial Services website