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Archive for the ‘financial aid’

Apr13

gimme the dough

Dear aska,

I am a future U of T student. I am writing you because I am quite confused with student loans. Indeed, I am a Canadian citizen from Ontario (so eligible for OSAP) but haven’t lived in Canada for a long time. As result, I am not eligible for the NSLSC. Needing still to borrow some money, would you happen to recommend me any private student loan or any national loaning system that would apply to me?
Since I am writing you and understood you’re a bit bored of money-related questions: I wanted to know if a boxing club existed on campus, and if yes whether or not as an Innis student I would be able to joint it.

Thanks in advance, keep up the good work,

an ecstatic, penniless and boxing passionate future U of T Student.

———————————————

hello!

so regarding your question, i spoke to a financial counsellor and she said that you should definitely double check with enrolment services to confirm your eligibility for the national loan. technically, if you are a canadian citizen, you’re eligible, but perhaps there is more to your situation that makes you ineligible. regardless, it doesn’t hurt to double check.

that being said, there are definitely options outside of student loans which can help with funding your education! a good place to start doing research is the financial aid page on the utoronto website.

throughout the duration of your undergrad, you’ll come across scholarships from your college and the university that you can to apply for. these scholarships will vary in terms of what they look for, (e.g. academic merit, leadership, area of study, etc.) and there is a helpful tool right here that you can use to look at all the awards that are available to you.

if you are eligible for OSAP, you will be automatically considered for UTAPS (University of Toronto Advance Planning for Students), which is a fund which covers the extra costs of university that OSAP do not cover.

another option is to get a line of credit, which allows you to borrow money from a financial institution with interest payments each month. if you need to talk to someone to discuss your financial situation or financial aid options, you can find the contact info for the financial counsellor at your college right here!

paying tuition is, no doubt, a huge burden, but hopefully these options will help you out a bit.

also, after publishing your question, i realized i forgot to answer your question about boxing at U of T. it doesn’t look like U of T has boxing as part of their sport and recreation programs, but i do know that there is a boxing club at U of T that you can check out. their facebook group will have more information! it doesn’t seem to be college-specific, so i’m sure you’ll be able to join!

peace, love and dolladollabillz,

aska

Jul18

OSAP, we need some time apart

I’ve done very poorly this school year and I’m a first year student. My academic standing was not accessed because I attempted less than 4.0 credits. I received a letter from the national student loans service center telling me I have to repay my loans already, thing is I know I’ve done really bad. I want to resume school and avoid probation/suspension; but I have to pay my loans first before enrolling. Can I take time off of school and repay my loans first, and then return to school where they access my academic standing. Or is it not possible to take time off, or else it affects my GPA further?

———————————————

hey there,

so, what i’m guessing happened is that you weren’t able to complete any credits this year. the NSLSC treated that as if you had been away from school for a year, and is now saying that you need to repay the loans, because according to them, you’ve been “out of school.”

if that is the case, i would speak with a financial advisor at utm to see what you can do about the situation. it may be possible to communicate to the NSLSC that you want to continue in school next year, and explain what your plans are to improve your academic standing. in that case, you could come back to school on OSAP, and not be required to start paying it back immediately. but speak with the advisor to be sure, because they are experts in this stuff, where aska is what you might call an amateur advisor.

what i’m saying is coming back to school on OSAP may not be possible in your case, so speak with the experts to find out the best next steps.

if you do indeed need to take time off to repay your loan before continuing at school, that’s a-okay. you are free to take as much time off school as you need to; all you have to do is not sign up for courses! it won’t affect your GPA. your academic record will stay the same until you return. GPA’s don’t have a half-life; they don’t deteriorate while you’re away from school.

whatever happens with your OSAP repayment, taking time off may even be a good choice, academically. time off from school gives you – well, time – to reflect on whether uoft is the best path for you, what your goals are, and, if you’d like to return, what changes you can make to ensure that you’re successful. sometimes time is the best decision-maker. if the time comes when you feel ready to come back, re-registration is a very simple process.

good luck!

aska

Mar17

grantz

Helloooooo, I was just wondering if you knew how long it would take to receive a grant after the application has been accepted. Cheers!

———————————————

hey there,

grants are administered by colleges, and there’s no university-wide policy regulating how they’re distributed – at least that i’m aware of. SO it really all depends on your college/divisional registrar’s office and how quickly they can get it to you. i’d recommend directing your questions to them.

cheers,

aska

Mar02

OSAP, probation, OSAP probation

Hi Aska,

A year ago, I ended up on academic probation. I was able to get off it and have been very slowly increasing my GPA since then. This year, I applied for OSAP and was told it would be the last time. That’s understandable as I’ve been a repeat offender. Anyways this year, I ended up dropping courses to save my GPA from going down. While I was taking four courses in the fall, I ended up using an LWD on one of them. This winter, I dropped two out of my four courses (so I am now a part-timer). I know what a stupid way to waste of money and time. SO because it doesn’t really matter at this point as I will not be getting anymore OSAP, is there a need for me to tell the financial office that I dropped courses?

On another note, is there a minimum GPA requirement to take UTSG courses in the summer? And do you know if they have posted their possible summer courses?

Thanks

———————————————

hey there,

if you were getting full-time OSAP and you’ve now dropped to a part-time course load, then yes, you should get in touch with enrolment services/your divisionally appropriate financial aid office. you need to communicate to OSAP that you’re now on a part-time course load so that the amount of aid you’re receiving can be adjusted appropriately. enrolment services can fill you in on the details about exactly how you should go about doing that, but it typically involves writing a letter to OSAP explaining why you dropped down below a 60% course load.

there is no minimum GPA to take courses in general. if you’re on probation, you do need to make sure that you make it out of that semester with a CGPA above 1.50 to get yourself off probation.

finally, the preliminary summer schedule is available now for your eager eyeballs to peruse!

best,

aska

Feb03

(Ph)enomenal (D)ollars

Hello ! I’m an International student that wants to go to UofT for gradschool (phD). I’m academically okay for the program (I have an overall A and all that jazz) but…. Where can I start looking for scholarships to live and study at UofT during those years? I’m a bit lost since I don’t know a thing about scholarships for international students that wants to go to Canada – Thank you !!

———————————————

hey there,

the major scholarships that fund postgraduate study in Ontario are the NSERC and OGS scholarships. unfortunately, those are only available to domestic students. what i’d recommend is taking a look at your home country’s opportunities, if any, that are available for students travelling abroad. most countries have some form of financial aid for postgrads.

we do have some scholarships available for international students, and i’d strongly encourage you to apply to as many as you’re eligible for, but they do not provide nearly as much funding as is probably ideal.

the good news is, as a PhD student, the university is committed to funding you. all the information about how financial support works for a physics PhD is available on page 29 of this document provided by the department of physics. it shows that if you don’t have access to any scholarships, the university will still be able to support you through RA and TA-ships, and internal scholarships.

here is a breakdown about how much physics PhDs were funded depending on their year, and where the money came from. the aid hovers around $40k per student, depending on the year of your PhD. which is totally liveable.

if you have further questions about how this all works, i’d recommend contacting the financial counsellor at the School of Graduate Studies.

best of luck,

aska

Jan20

oh, to not live under crushing and unsustainable debt

I’m a BC highschool student, soon to be UoT student. My cost estimate is about 20k first year, and 35k for the next 4 years, 150k upon completion. My family has made it clear that they can’t afford to pay, which i respect and won’t be asking them for a contribution. I was late to the scholarship search, as I wasn’t planning to enroll in UoT till very recently. I am strong academically, and fairly week in the EC’s.

How can I fund my education?
Is there a limit to how much I can loan out?
How do I loan out this large amount of money?
How much help should I expect from UoT?
Is it a better idea to apply for the whole sum upfront, or over the years?
And any tips with this situation, or anything?

Cheers,

———————————————

hey there,

i’m almost certain that BC’s financial aid system is your best bet for funding almost all, if not all, of your education. i’m not an expert by any means, but BC’s setup seems to be similar to OSAP‘s (that’s the Ontario Student Assistance Program), so i think it’s safe to say that you will be assessed and allotted an amount every year based on your perceived need. read through their website and speak with your high school guidance counsellor(s) for more information about how to apply.

if you receive the maximum amount of aid from BC and you still need more, you can apply to UTAPS (UofT Advance Planning for Students), which will fill in the gap between how much assistance you’re getting, and how much you need.

apart from UTAPS, you get automatically considered for a $2000 entrance scholarship from the university if you have at least a 92% average in your final year. depending on your college, you can also receive up to $3000 in entrance scholarship money from your home college – again, you’re automatically assessed for this.

provincial financial aid and UTAPS function on a yearly basis. every year, you’ll have to reapply and be reassessed to receive your next set of instalments.

also consider the possibility of working, both before and during school. a part-time or summer job can save you a few thousand dollars coming in, and every $1k counts. and while i’d advise not working in your first year if you can at all help it, taking on a part-time job in university is great for your pocket AND your resume.

the only other tip i have is: research, research, research. find out where your money will be coming from, how to apply for it, and then take note of deadlines. and then keep doing that while you’re here. the search for scholarships does not end after you get into university.

there are many scholarships available from uoft for students at various stages of their studies, not to mention all the external scholarships that are available (tip: when i was in the twelfth grade, i would spend hours just googling major corporations with the word ‘scholarship’ attached. you can bet that most large companies that need to keep up a certain image will have a scholarship for high schoolers).

best of luck with all this, and i hope to see you at the university of toronto soon!

aska

Jan15

i have no $$ :((

heyyy aska,

So the christmas season hit me kind of hard, and now I’m in a situation where I just got my OSAP and…surprise surprise…it’s not enough! I’m looking at the rent and tuition I have to pay and there’s no way that what I have + my OSAP now is going ta cut it until April. Should I drop out? Just start living on the street? Help??

Thanks in advance,

———————————————

hey there,

firstly, i’m sorry you’re in this situation. there’s no easy fix to this kind of situation, but i think the best thing you can do to start off by talking to your college registrar’s office. most colleges have an emergency student fund and they can administer emergency grants to students in need.

this is not the solution in every case, so it’s not something to count on, but it’s helpful to get into that conversation with an advisor, because they can advise you about some other financial resources and options for you. it is not necessary to drop out – there are ways you can manage your money.

AS IT HAPPENS, innis college’s financial advisor, Thomas Mackay, is hosting a talk on JUST THIS TOPIC, next monday, january 18th, from 5pm-6pm, in the innis college events room. find out more here.

popcorn talks

best of luck!

aska

Oct30

i’m such a glamorous traveller

Hi! So, i’ve been accepted to a volunteer abroad program aimed at students (operation groundswell) for the summer of 2016. However, i can’t afford to go without financial aid of some sort. If i apply to bursaries? through the program itself, i may be able to shave off the cost of flying in and out of Peru, but that won’t be enough. I was wondering if there are any bursaries, grants or anything else of that nature that UofT could offer? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks,

———————————————

hey there,

honestly, i doubt it. most colleges have a fund held in reserve to issue emergency grants, but i doubt this would count as an emergency. you can always ask your college registrar about it, but it’ll most likely be a waste of your time.

i mean, it would be great if the university could fund all our trips abroad, but i’d probably spend more time eating macarons in Paris or punching some toothless lad in Manchester than actually doing work, so it’s probably better that they don’t.

uoft does have some scholarships available to help fund travel, but for most of these, you need to be either in a uoft exchange program, or working on a uoft course, either by completing it abroad or conducting research in another country.

however, here are some of the scholarships available to you. have a look through and see if you can wiggle your way into being eligible for any of them.

have fun in Peru!

aska

Jul13

i’ve made $2.76 so far in pity loans

I wanna go to UofT but I’m an American…will I be eligible for financial aid??

———————————————

hey there,

to be eligible for the federal aid offered to ontario students (called OSAP), you need to be a Canadian citizen/PR/protected person and Ontario resident.

unless you meet those requirements, you would have to seek financial aid in your home country. for American citizens, government loans come from FAFSA.

once you’re at uoft, you could apply for a wide-range of college-specific and university-wide scholarships based on financial need, academic excellence, and community involvement.

finally, there is the financial aid we are all eligible for: sitting in the spadina subway station with a beat-up banjo, singing forlornly about the cost of tuition while people pityingly drop nickels into our empty tim’s cups*.

cheers,

aska

* handy tip b/c you’re american: this is a “tim’s cup.”

Oct06

You Won’t Believe What One Girl Did to Destroy her Existential Angst

Hi there!

I am a first year in UTSG and from my topic, you guessed it! I have absolutely no clue what i want to major in and the anxiety is eating me inside out.

This thought has boggled my head so much since money for my tuition is a real problem for me. The financial burden makes me want to ensure that what
i take will be worth every penny so i tried going for a full on 6 credits over my first year but little by little, i dropped my courses after figuring out how I have no interest(or previous knowledge) in the courses at all. Plus, it’s no joke how serious U of T takes each and every course. Now, I’m at 4 credits.

I entered U of T in Psychology with the notion that by studying about your mind, you will have a better chance of knowing what you want to major in. Ironically, going through my first few weeks in U of T taught me so much more and i have not even started my first psych class(i got the one for next term). I made the decision that what i study and what i want to do will be two separate entities so i got that covered for me. I do what I want to do outside of Uni and I study what i want to study inside of uni. Only problem is, i’ve been finding it hard to figure out what i want to major in after looking through U of T’s courses.

What do people normally want to major in in UTSG? What does UTSG facilitate more Arts students or science students? What do you do should you realize that U of T isn’t for you? I am writing this letter not to ask about transferring to another University but to ask about your personal experience about finding what you want to study and where one might get help on this topic on campus.

Thanks,

Your average stressed out first year

———————————————

hey there,

in 100 years’ time, this e-mail will be exhibit 1.a under the heading: ‘Millennials in Crisis: Dealing with the Existential in a University Context in the Early 2000s.’

gen y crisis

The literature chronicling our freak-outs is quite extensive.

as someone who is (mostly) standing on the other side of this academic crisis, i think i can say with some confidence that the issue is not that you don’t have the answers, but that you’re asking the wrong questions. yeah. i’m a veritable Buddha of academic advice.

let’s just go through your questions step by step, before i compare myself to any more sacred cultural figures:

1) what do people normally want to major in in UTSG? does uoft better facilitate studies in arts or science?

there is literally no answer to that question. aside from the fact that the mixing and matching you’re allowed (even expected) to do with POSts allows for an almost infinite number of majors, minors and specialists, uoft does not have a particular inclination to any one area.

i’m not going to argue (as some overzealous uoft folks sometimes like to do) that uoft is the best university in literally every discipline. we’re not.

however, across the fine arts, humanities, and the social, applied and pure sciences, we’ve got consistently strong and diverse programs, and between all three campuses, pretty much every area of study’s been covered.

uoft is not a tech school, and it’s not a liberal arts college. more than anything, uoft is big. if you search long enough, you’re likely to find yourself somewhere around here. but uoft is not going to hand you any obvious choices.

i can tell you that psych is a pretty popular subject POSt. PSY100, which i guess is the class you’re taking next semester, is a good litmus test for figuring out if you actually enjoy or care at all about psychology. so that’s a step in the right direction.

process of elimination is a great way of figuring out what you want to study. if you take a wide range of different classes in first year, chances are, you can cross out a whole bunch of areas as definite ‘no’s,’ and that brings you a lot closer to figuring out what you’ll say ‘yes’ to.

also, don’t worry too much about doing 4.0 FCEs/term. lots of people do that. if finances are an issue, i would suggest looking into the ontario tuition grant, work-study jobs, your college’s bursary/emergency grant options, and UTAPS.

2) what do you should you realize that uoft isn’t for you?

get out. it’s not worth your time or your money.

that said, the issue may not be that uoft is not for you. it could be that your program is not for you, or your course load is too heavy, or your living arrangements are stressing you out, or your health is in a bad place, or you’re not connecting enough with the community to feel really excited about it.

if you’re starting to feel unhappy, don’t just push it to one side until it becomes this all-consuming, nebulous thing, like an itch without any clear point of origin. sit down and ask yourself what exactly is making you unhappy. be as specific as possible. write it down as a list, even.

 

things i hate list

A list is a great way to figure out what you like, and what you don’t like, about university.

once you have the list, go through it point by point and try and come up with some solutions for each point. if one of those solutions is to leave uoft, or university altogether, then that’s what you should do.

obviously, don’t just write a list and drop out the next day. give yourself some time to chew on it. talk to your registrar’s office. go to the career centre and book a career advising appointment, or participate in one of their career exploration programs. as well as being a welcome financial help, work-study jobs can help you explore your interests in a much more concrete way than in the classroom.

i know you’re already at school, but maybe it might help to come out to fall campus day. pretend you’re coming to university for the first time and just visit a bunch of different people. which programs excite you? which ones do you like talking to? that can also help you clarify some things.

just be honest with yourself. most people have a pretty good handle on what they like doing, and what they don’t. sometimes, though, our interests and priorities don’t match up with those of the people around us, and that makes us question them. try to block out the voices of your parents, your peers, the NSLC, etc. ask yourself what you actually want.

finally, don’t be too stressed that you have no idea what you want to do yet. it’s only september of your first year – you’ve got four years – at least – ahead of you to decide, change your mind, decide again, change again, etc. if you’ve already gotten past the homesick phase, that in itself is an accomplishment. clarity about your academics will come in time, if you put in the work to figuring them out.

best of luck,

aska

Nov11

Show Me The Money

How does UTAPS work? Is there any rhyme or reason to how much money you get? I cannot for the LIFE of me get anybody in the administration to tell me how it works and how they calculate the need. The websites all say that they guarantee to top up your OSAP/other prov student loans up to the assessed financial need, however, people within my program (admin and students) tell me conflicting info., such as nobody gets more than $3-5K or that UTAPS will cover my full $13,000 of assessed unmet need. HALP! I’m a grad student in a program that qualifies for UTAPS assistance, if that helps. My loans just cover my tuition but not my books, living expenses, very expensive transportation costs (as a commuter), etc. etc.Thanks! 🙂

———————————————

hey,

Well it’s hard to go by what other students have received just because they will not have the same financial situation as you. No two snowflakes are alike you know?… speaking of snow flakes. I was freezing my knickers off this morning and heard gossip of snow. Banish the thought.

I’m sure how they calculate UTAPs is a deep dark secret, that is taken to the grave.In true style of not knowing the embedded secrets I’m going to send you to someone else … isn’t this just how the world works

A graduate studies financial counsellor … they probably know how to get you a whole slew of money that you didn’t even know existed!

live long and prosper … or something like that,

aska

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