All you need to know about financial aid

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021

Pen and paper on a desk

Investing in your education is a big financial decision. Fortunately, there are a number of financial aid programs which you can benefit from to ease the financial burden and help you focus on your studies. In this article, we break down 5 opportunities for financial aid.

Government assistance

Many students count on government financial assistance to pay for their studies. We suggest applying for either provincial and federal government assistance as soon as the application portal is open, usually around mid-May. In addition to receiving loans, being approved for government assistance is an eligibility criterion for many bursaries. While you are a full-time student in an approved postsecondary program, you aren’t required to make any payments on your loan and your loan remains interest free.

Scholarship vs Bursary

Do you know what the difference is between a scholarship and a bursary? A scholarship is awarded for academic achievements while a bursary is awarded based on financial need.


For example, if your admission average was 80% or above, you can expect an admission scholarship anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 in your first year, dependent on which bracket it falls in. During the fall semester of your second academic year, you are eligible to receive a $1,000 Merit scholarship if you maintain a GPA of 8.5 or higher. You are eligible for the merit scholarship for every academic year you meet the GPA requirements.

You can visit the online scholarship and bursaries webpage to understand the requirements for admission and merit scholarships.


With the automatic scholarships accounted for, we can get into the ones which require a bit more work. Each semester, you have the opportunity to apply for a number of scholarships through the Online Scholarships and Bursaries portal. The process for many of these is easy; upload your unofficial transcript along with a few other pieces of information and you can get through quite a few in a short period of time. For those with specific financial needs, you have the option to apply for all existing financial aid bursaries at once (the “Multiple Financial Need Bursaries” scholarship in the portal). Generally speaking, you have to apply for university offered bursaries by the set deadline.

The remaining bursaries require that you meet certain criteria in addition to putting a bit more time and effort into your application. That said, you can’t lose by putting in the time to apply for a few more. In this case, time could equally money!

Work Study Program

For those who have financial needs, you also have the option to apply for a Work-Study position with the university. These job opportunities tend to be on or near campus, making it easy for you to make some extra income while keeping up with your studies with the extra benefit of gaining some experience for your resume. A perk of the work study program is being able to base your work schedule around your class schedule.

The application can be found on uOZone under Applications > Work Study Navigator. Once you complete the financial questionnaire application, you have to wait a couple days to find out if you’ve been accepted. If you are, you have the option of several jobs which you can apply for. Since finding a job this way requires an interview, you will want to apply about a month before the next semester starts to give yourself enough time to go through and apply for jobs, and provide your future boss time to look through your resume.

Emergency Financial Aid

For those who have been impacted by an unforeseen life event and are in need of emergency financial aid, the university maintains a fund you can access for help. For more info on that, contact the financial aid office using the info at the bottom of their website.

Hopefully this article has given you a bit of a clearer idea of where you can expect to find financial aid while you study at uOttawa. For more details or information on specific programs, you can always contact the financial aid office using the link above.

Back to top