Financial Assistance: from the
University of Guelph
- Graduate students may expect to undertake teaching and research assistantships as an
integral part of their academic programs. Before undertaking any kind of assistantship, however,
graduate students must note that some fellowships, scholarships, and bursaries awarded by
external agencies strictly limit the number of hours of service the holder may render to the
university and/or limit the amount of money the holder may receive in some cases, from all
sources. Students are responsible for abiding strictly by the terms of any such awards.
Financial assistance may be available to graduate students in several forms and combinations.
These may include employment, research awards, scholarships and bursaries. Each of these is
described briefly below. Students have the responsibility to ascertain precisely what
remuneration will be received, if any, from the department or school in which they propose to
register. The department or school has the responsibility to inform students about the duties they
associate with that form of assistance.
When departments and schools make admission recommendations to Graduate Program
Services, they also decide what funding (if any) will be provided to each person selected. These
funding decisions may include one or more of the following:
- Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)
Students appointed as graduate teaching assistants will be asked to perform only teaching-related
duties. These may include preparing and conducting tutorials, laboratories and seminars; grading
assignments, reports and examinations, and performing other related duties. Students may hold a
GTA in a department in which they are not registered.
A copy of the collective agreement between the university and CUPE local 3913 unit 1, covering
GTA employment, is available for students appointed as GTAs. Students are expected to
familiarize themselves with these regulations. The GTA rate of pay is established annually.
The university provides T4 and T4A tax information slips each year to students with GTAs.
These forms document the appropriate taxable portions of GTA funding. These slips are mailed
to students in late February each year, for the previous tax year.
- Graduate Service Assistant (GSA)
Typically, the services provided by GSAs fall into two categories:
The university provides a T4 tax information slip each year to students
with GSAs. For income tax purposes, these forms document the money received through any
GSA appointment(s). These slips are mailed to students in late February each year, for the
previous tax year.
- Work that is directly related to the academic enterprise but not properly a GTA or GRA.
Examples of these services include the preparation of academic or administrative reports and the
compilation of statistics for departmental use. This work may not contribute to the student's
thesis research. A copy of the collective agreement between the university and CUPE local 3913
unit 1, covering GSA(i) employment, is available for students appointed as GSA(i)s. Students are
expected to familiarize themselves with these regulations. The GSA(i) rate of pay is established
- Work that is not directly related to the academic enterprise. Examples of these services
include locking/unlocking doors, cooking, cashiering, snow removal, and lifeguarding. Students
are paid at the appropriate hourly rate set by Human Resources for the appropriate kind of work.
Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
Graduate students may be supported through research grants received by faculty members from
external agencies or governments. The student's research must contribute to the research of the
faculty member under whose direction it is conducted. It must be used in the preparation of the
The dollar value of GRA stipends are based on the external granting
agencies' guidelines on support of graduate students through research operating grants. GRAs
must be approved by the department chair or school director on the recommendation of the
The university provides a T4A tax information slip each year to students
with GRAs. For income tax purposes, the T4A documents the funds received through any
graduate research assistantships. These slips are mailed to students in late February each year, for
the previous tax year.
Following this general description section, there is a list of internal awards
grouped by student eligibility, i.e., by college or department affiliation and/or as awards for
which students are eligible from across campus. The university reserves the right to amend these
awards subject to the availability of funds. Full-time and part-time students are eligible for all
internal awards, unless otherwise stated in the eligibility clause.
Students are eligible for internal award consideration from the time they
have accepted an offer of admission to a graduate program until they have graduated from that
program; students must be registered in order to receive these awards. Students granted a leave of
absence (see section 3.4) may defer acceptance of internal awards or interrupt acceptance of
continuing awards until after the approved leave with the permission of the appropriate awards
The university provides a T4A tax information slip to students each year.
For income tax purposes, these forms document the money received by students in the form of
awards, including department, school, college and university awards. These slips are mailed to
students in late February each year, for the previous tax year.
- Entrance awards
Entry-level (semester-one) students in all departments are considered
without award application for most internal awards prior to arrival and registration (see also
college/school and university award descriptions). Students will normally be included in
entrance-award competitions held after the date on which they accepted an offer of admission. It
is strongly recommended that a completed application for graduate study be received at least six
months prior to the date when the student hopes to begin graduate study. This will ensure
consideration for all possible entrance awards for which the student is eligible. Students who
apply less than six months in advance may miss some internal award competitions but will still
be considered for appropriate awards not yet distributed.
- In-course awards
Students continuing in a graduate program of study are automatically
considered for some awards and must make application for others. A list and description of all
internal awards available as of 1997/98 are in this calendar.
- ACCESS awards
The university has established a number of ACCESS awards in 1997
through the generous contribution of over 6,000 donors, and then matched through the provincial
government's Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund program. All ACCESS awards are
designed to support students in financial need studying at the university. Some of these awards
will start to be available in Fall 1998. Students must complete a needs assessment application in
order to be considered. These awards will be available within colleges and university-wide.
- Bursaries awards
A limited number of emergency bursaries and/or student loans are
available for students who unexpectedly find themselves in difficult circumstances. Students
should discuss these unexpected difficulties/costs with their adviser and graduate co-ordinator. If
unresolved financial difficulties remain, they should then proceed to Student Financial Services.
These funds are specifically designed to cover emergency/acute/unexpected/one-time-only
situations requiring compassion and are not designed to cover registration and living costs
associated with the normal continuation of study.
A listing and description of external scholarships/fellowships/ awards that
students may hold while registered at Guelph are maintained in Student Financial Services.
Students interested in any of the three external awards listed below are
urged to direct enquiries to the address listed in each description just prior to the appropriate time
of application each year:
- 1) Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
- NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships
- There is an annual competition for entry-level/continuing master's
scholarships and entry-level/continuing doctoral scholarships. NSERC eligibility regulations are
subject to change. Eligible applicants must be Canadians or permanent residents and have at least
an 'A-' average (first-class standing) in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent
part-time study, as of August 31 of the year of application.
Eligible undergraduate students must apply in the September that is at least
eight months prior to entering a graduate program.
Eligible graduate students must apply in the September that is at least eight
months prior to when the award would begin.
Students currently registered at a Canadian university must apply for
NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGSA or PGSB) through the appropriate office at the
university of registration and follow its procedures and deadline dates for application submission.
At Guelph, applications for postgraduate scholarships are made through the Student Financial
Students who are not currently registered (more than 12 months since the
last month of registration) in a Canadian University must apply directly to NSERC and follow
NSERC application procedures and submission deadlines. Applications are available at any
Canadian university or write to NSERC just prior to the September application period at:
Scholarships and Fellowships Division, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council,
Constitution Square, Tower 11, 14th Floor, 350 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1H5.
NSERC offers a limited number of specialized postgraduate awards which
are listed in the application materials each September. Students in the appropriate disciplines are
advised to review these annually.
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships:
Application forms are available for Canadians and permanent residents in
the office of research at Canadian universities. There are various application deadline dates and
postdoctoral award programs; doctoral students should note that some awards require application
up to one year before doctoral degree completion.
- 2) Ontario Graduate Scholarships
- These are awarded through an annual competition for students. OGS
eligibility regulations are subject to change.
There are two competitions: (i) for applicants who are Canadians or
permanent residents, and (ii) for international students who are in a graduate program in Ontario
and on a student visa. Eligible applicants must have at least an 'A-' average (first-class standing)
in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study, as of the September
Eligible undergraduate students must apply in the September that is at least
eight months prior to the tenure of the award.
Continuing graduate students must apply in the September before
receiving an award for the second year of a master's program or any of the first five years of a
Students registered at an Ontario university must apply for an OGS
through the appropriate awards office at the university where they are currently registered and
follow its procedures and deadline dates for application submission; students should investigate
this opportunity early in September. At Guelph, applications for OGS are made through Student
Canadians and permanent residents who are not currently registered must
apply directly to the OGS program and follow OGS application procedures and submission
deadlines. Applications are available at any Ontario university or write to the OGS program just
prior to the September application period at: Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, Student
Support Branch, Ministry of Education and Training, P.O. Box 4500, 189 Red River Road, 4th
Floor, Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 6G9.
- 3) Social Science and Humanities Research Council of
- SSHRC Doctoral Scholarships
There is an annual competition for entry-level and continuing doctoral
students. SSHRC eligibility regulations are subject to change. Eligible applicants must be
Canadians or permanent residents and have at least an 'A-' average (first-class standing) in each
of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study, as of the September of
Eligible master's students must apply in the September that is at least eight
months before either (i) entering a doctoral program or (ii) entering years two, three or four of a
Eligible students who entered a doctoral program directly upon
undergraduate degree completion are not eligible to hold an award in their first year of doctoral
study; they may apply in the September that is at least eight months before commencement of
years two, three, four or five.
Students registered at a Canadian university must apply for SSHRC
doctoral fellowships through the appropriate office at the university in which they are registered
and follow its application procedures and deadlines. At Guelph, applications for these
scholarships are made through Student Financial Services.
Students who are not currently registered at a Canadian university must
apply directly to SSHRC and follow SSHRC application procedures and submission deadlines.
Applications are available at any Canadian university or write to SSHRC just prior to the
September application period at: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada,
255 Albert Street, P.O. Box 1610, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6G4.
SSHRC provides a limited number of awards in addition to the doctoral
scholarships. These are listed in the application materials each September. Students in the
appropriate disciplines are advised to review these annually.
Some governments/agencies provide research support for students to enter
and complete graduate degrees. Common examples would be (i) international government
agencies funding students from their home country to study abroad, including in Canada
(students should review what is available through their home country) and (ii) Canadian agencies
funding study in specific areas of research (students should review opportunities through the
office of research and/or appropriate office at the university in which they are registered).
Each provincial government and the Canadian government provide loans
for undergraduate and graduate education to Canadians and permanent residents (subject to
minimum residency requirements). These funds are not available to international students.
Students should review the student loan policies of their home province; student loan information
is normally available through universities but students should note that provincial loan forms and
initial application procedures may only be available through a student's home province.
Some agencies, clubs and private organizations provide student bursaries
for members and their immediate families; students should review what is available through any
of these organizations.