The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a financial aid program that is designed to assist students to pursue post-secondary education. Aid is provided in the form of grants and loans to eligible students based on several factors, best categorized into education expenses (money needed for tuition, books, personal living expenses, child care, etc) and personal financial situation (income, dependents, family size, etc).
Eligible students can qualify to receive grants (money that the student does not have to pay back). Grants are calculated based on various factors, including family income. When applying for OSAP, students can choose to take only the grant and decline the loan by submitting a form after submitting the initial OSAP application.
OSAP offers loans to eligible students assist with post-secondary costs such as (tuition, books, living expenses, etc). While there is a six-month grace period after your last confirmed study period ends, interest accrues at different rates for the Ontario portion and the Canada portion of the loan.
HOW CAN MCMASTER HELP?
McMaster University provides eligible students with aid through scholarships, bursaries, and the work/study program. To see what you're eligible for, the first thing you'll have to do is complete the online aid application in Mosaic. Go to Mosaic > Student Center > Finances and then follow the detailed instructions from the Guide.
Eligibility for scholarships varies depending on the scholarship. While some scholarships depend solely on marks, others have a lengthy application process with several requirements. To begin, you must complete the financial aid application on Mosaic, as detailed in the Guide. After you complete your personal profile following the instructions under the "Welcome/ Start" tab, click on the "Aid by Application" tab on Mosaic and the aid year to see which awards you are eligible for and how to apply.
For students entering Level 1 (first year), there are two types of entrance scholarships - the McMaster Honour Awards and the Entrance Awards by Application. The McMaster Honour Awards are available to all students entering Level 1 , do not require an application and are based solely based on your final high school average. The Entrance Awards by Application, as implied by the name require applications and are awarded based on their individual requirements.
You must be a full-time student and enrolled in at least 24 units during the Fall/Winter terms and obtain a Fall-Winter average of at least a 9.5 without any failures. There is also a separate category of in-course awards with different requirements for part-time students. For full list of requirements, click here and scroll down to "Awards for In-Course Students."
These awards are application-based and are granted on the basis of the student having taken at least 24 units in the previous year in which he/she obtained at least an 8.0 GPA without any failures. The student must also be taking 24 units at the time of application and must return to study. For a more detailed list of requirements, click here and scroll down to "Awards for Travel/Formal Exchange". For more information specifically on exchange programs and studying abroad, click here.
COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION AWARD
You must be enrolled in Level 2-5 to be considered for these awards which recognize students who demonstrate exceptional service to the university or the community. While there is no monetary benefit with this award, a notation will appear on your transcript and the recipient may be eligible to receive the corresponding donor's bursary if financial need is demonstrated. For more info, click here.
Grants are money you can receive if you demonstrate financial need. While an application is not required, receiving a grant is competitive: you must you demonstrate financial need and maintain a GPA of 9.5 or greater in the previous Fall/Winter terms with no failures. There are grants available to students entering level 1 as well, but you must demonstrate financial need and have at least an 80% admission average to be considered (the higher, the better). For more information, click here and scroll down to (Academic Grants for In-Course Students).
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GRADUATING STUDENTS
Graduand scholarships, exclusive for graduating students require applicants to have at least an 8.0 GPA and range from medals to monetary application -based scholarships. To learn more about the different types of these scholarships, click here. For details on requirements, click here, and scroll down to "Awards for Graduating Students".
The Rhodes Scholarship, awarded to Canadians each fall provides recipients the opportunity to study at Oxford University for 2-3 years while covering tuition, airfare and living expenses. Eligible students must have a cumulative average of at least 10.5, be enrolled in final year of study and, have received an undergraduate degree prior to taking up the scholarship (except for Medicine students). To learn more about the Rhodes Scholarship, click here.
The Renaissance Award awards students with the opportunity to engage in a 4-12 month, self-directed, enrichment experience. For more details, click here.
Bursaries are available to students who demonstrate financial need and is money that you do not have to pay back. Funded by the university and independent donors, bursaries are provided to students to assist with expenses related to education. To be eligible, applicant must be enrolled at McMaster (International students enrolled in level 3 or higher), continue to demonstrate financial need throughout the study period and submit a completed application by the deadline. To apply for a bursary, go to "Apply for Financial Aid" on the Mosaic Student Center and select "General Bursary/Work Program" tab after completing the online aid application. To learn more about bursaries, click here.
The McMaster Work/ Study Program helps students who demonstrate financial need by giving them the opportunity to work part-time during the Fall/Winter semesters or part-time/full-time during the summer. To check if you are eligible, go to "Apply for Financial Aid" in Mosaic Student Center and select "Apply for Fall/Winter Work Program" or "Apply for Summer Work Program". Check the status of your application in the Student Center under "Financial Aid". Once you are approved, you can browse the several work opportunities available on campus. These can be found by navigating to "Career Opportunities" from the home page, and clicking the "Student Work Program" tab. From there, you can even narrow down to a specific department you'd like to work for, to make your work experience that much more relevant to your career goals.
HOW CAN I HELP MYSELF?
If you do not qualify for OSAP, do not want to take a loan, or are simply looking for more ways to alleviate the financial burden of your university education, there are several resources that can help you pay for school. Aside from the work/study program, there are other means through which you can find work on campus or at a location close to campus. If you commute, a weekend or evening job might be something to consider. Besides work, there are plenty of scholarships you can apply for aside from the ones on Mosaic. You can find these on several websites which are dedicated just for scholarships. The McMaster Financial Aid website lists these links (they are missing one: univcan.ca)
WHAT IS AN OPT-OUT?
There are several unavoidable fees that are charged on your student account alongside your tuition, which fund a variety of programs and services on campus. Some of these programs or services however, may not be of interest to you or you could simply do without. However, you can choose to be reimbursed the share you pay for these. Below are the three fees which you are automatically charged but able to be reimbursed for, provided you submit the required forms before the respective deadlines.