The University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support

In April 1998, the Governing Council of the University of Toronto approved the following Policy on Student Financial Support.

1. Statement of Principle

No student offered admission to a program at the University of Toronto should be unable to enter or complete the program due to lack of financial means.

2. Scope of Application

This policy applies to all student financial support at the University of Toronto, whether funded by restricted funds, funds established under the Ontario Student Opportunities Trust Fund (OSOTF) program or through the University’s operating budget, and including awards governed by the Policy on Student Awards. Financial support includes:

  • grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships as defined in the Policy on Student Awards, whether funded from restricted funds, OSOTF or through the University’s operating budget
  • outside awards as defined in the Policy on Student Awards
  • institutionally-negotiated loan programs; that is, programs negotiated by the University with a financial institution on behalf of students, and in some cases for the subsidization of interest payments by the University
  • work-study and other forms of employment-based learning
  • teaching assistantships and research assistantships

3. Implementation

  1. The University’s guarantee: The financial support programs of the University of Toronto will be designed to guarantee that each student has access to the resources necessary to meet his or her needs as assessed by a common mechanism. This mechanism will be based on the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) needs assessment with appropriate modifications as determined by the Vice-Provost, Students and the University Registrar in consultation with the academic divisions of the University. This guarantee will apply to students in good academic standing, and will be in effect so long as levels of OSAP support remain at least equivalent to those prevailing in 1997-1998.
  2. Needs as identified in 3(a) will be met as follows:
    1. Full-time Students
      Students are expected to rely on OSAP assistance, up to the level of the maximum OSAP loan. Assessed need which remains unmet above the OSAP maximum will be met as follows:

      • for students in first-entry undergraduate programs, need unmet by OSAP should be met primarily through grants
      • for students in second-entry professional programs (both undergraduate and graduate), need unmet by OSAP should be met through a mix of grants and institutionally-negotiated loans. The appropriate mix will vary across second-entry programs.
    2. Part-time Students:
      The University should develop a mechanism to assess the financial needs of part-time students, and to determine how best to support needy part-time students in meeting their educational costs.
    3. Out-of-province Students:
      Out-of-province students are expected to rely on programs of government support in their home jurisdictions. Where there is a difference between the level of support received from the home jurisdiction and the level which a comparable Ontario student would have received as an OSAP loan, the out-of-province student will have access to an institutionally-negotiated loan to make up the difference. Out-of-province students are also eligible for support in meeting unmet need on the same basis as Ontario students.
    4. International Students:
      International students must demonstrate that they have sufficient resources to meet their financial needs in order to qualify for a student visa. They are not eligible for the University’s guarantee offered to domestic students. International students will nonetheless be eligible for emergency assistance as determined by academic divisions under guidelines issued by the Vice-Provost, Students, and the University Registrar as described in section 3 (b) v below.
    5. Students with special financial needs:
      The Vice-Provost, Students, and the University Registrar, in consultation with the colleges, faculties and other academic divisions of the University, may issue guidelines dealing with categories of cases in which it is determined that the OSAP needs assessment mechanism does not reflect the true need of the student.

    Students who are ineligible for government support for reasons such as disqualifying credit histories are not eligible for the University of Toronto guarantee, but will be assessed on request on a case-by-case basis to determine the level of support that it is appropriate and feasible for the University to provide.

  3. Within the common principles stated in 3 (a) and (b) above, divisional diversity and flexibility is to be encouraged with regard to the appropriate mix of student aid: grants, loans, debt remission, work-study, etc. and the appropriate mode of administration and delivery. Student participation in the design and delivery of programs of student financial support is to be encouraged at the divisional level.
  4. Consistent with the guarantee in 3 (a) above, need should be a necessary condition of eligibility for the preponderance of financial assistance (other than for doctoral-stream students) at the University. For some need-based awards, eligibility may require passing a certain threshold of merit.

4. Awards Based on Merit Only:

Although need should be a condition of eligibility for the preponderance of financial assistance for other than doctoral-stream students as stated in 3 (d) above, merit-only awards should also exist, consistent with the Policy on Student Awards, to recognize and promote academic excellence among the student body and to provide incentives for academically excellent students to select the University; and the University should also offer other means of recognizing particularly meritorious performance.

5. Financial Counselling:

The University and its divisions shall make financial counselling available to students.

6. Administrative Regulations:

The Vice-Provost, Students, and the University Registrar may issue administrative regulations under this Policy and shall report such regulations for information to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs.

7. Annual Reporting:

The Vice-Provost, Students, shall issue an annual report on Student Financial Support. This report shall be submitted for information to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs.

8. Advocacy:

In making the case for public policies strongly supportive of an accessible public system of university education, the University will continue to advocate well designed programs of governmental financial support for students, sustained by substantial levels of public expenditure.