ASK (AND YOU MAY RECEIVE!) - FINDING THE MONEY FOR PART-TIME STUDIES                               by Joanne MacKay-Bennett

originally published in the 2013 Spring Issue

Part-time students who attend a public college or university in Ontario are eligible for financial aid through OSAP. Additionally, each college or university has its own programs to help fund part-time studies. Financial support for part-time students at Humber College or University of Toronto can be considered representative of the kind of assistance available at all colleges and universities in Ontario.

“I’d love to go back to school but I can’t afford it” is a familiar refrain. You may see nothing but a future of mounting expenses and feel the pressure to stick with your job, even if it is an unfulfilling one.

Sometimes financial insecurity prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. We give up on what we really want to do and just plug on with our less-than-satisfying routines.

It takes courage to pursue your educational goals. Be brave! Colleges and universities have offices of financial aid that are there to help you manage the costs of going back to school by offering a range of support packages such as bursaries, grants, loans, and scholarships.

In Ontario, financial assistance for postsecondary studies falls under the auspices of the Ontario Student Assistance Program, or OSAP: You are eligible to apply for OSAP if you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or a protected person. Money is provided in the form of a loan (which you repay) or a grant (which you don’t repay).

There are 24 OSAP financial aid programs. You will be considered for all of them when you apply online as a full-time or part-time student. Among the 24 programs, you will find: support for Aboriginal students, for students with disabilities, for part-time students with dependents, or for those who qualify as a low or middle income family, as well as bursaries to help defray the costs of child care. Go to:

What’s more, if you are in need and OSAP doesn’t cover the fees related to your program, Ontario’s public colleges and universities have an obligation to provide financial help. That help could be in the form of a bursary, a scholarship, a work study program, or a summer job opportunity.

Let’s say that you would like to register in a part-time program at Humber College. Here’s a sample of what’s available. As long as you are enrolled in a part-time program, which means 20%-59% of a full time course load, you can apply through OSAP for a Part -Time Canada Student Loan (PTCSL) for up to a maximum of $10,000.00 outstanding at any one time. By applying for a PTCSL, you will also be eligible for a Canada Student Grant for Part-Time Studies, or the Ontario Part-Time Grant.

Another resource worth checking out is It is a free, scholarship matching service that couples your profile with a list of current and available scholarships. Note that there are awards offered specifically to part-time students and that most awards do not restrict mature students from applying.

Students wishing to enroll part-time in a diploma or certificate program at Humber should go for details about Humber’s Continuing Ed. tuition bursary. If need is demonstrated, and you have already completed 25% of your program, bursaries are available up to 30 days prior to the start of the semester.

Humber College’s Financial Aid office (416 675-6622 x 4245) is there to answer your questions. One thing is certain: if you don’t ask, you’ll never know!

At the University of Toronto, two programs for part-timers, in addition to those offered through OSAP, can help with the expenses of going back to school.

Any student taking up to 1 credit can apply for the Noah Melz Grant. Students registering in Woodsworth College’s Academic Bridging Program, for example, can apply for this grant to cover the costs of books, transportation and child care. For those thinking of taking a summer course, applications are available in March and should be submitted by May 31st.

The Work-Study program at U of T provides students with another source of financial support. These programs are attractive because:

  1. students who apply do NOT have to be OSAP eligible and
  2. the program is open to all part-time, undergraduate (or graduate) students taking at least 2.0 courses. You are allowed to apply for one work study per academic year, hiring is done during the month of September, and the rate of pay is $10.25 an hour for a maximum of 12 hours a week.

Remember that a face-to-face conversation can often save many hours of website searching. Enrolment Services is located at 172 St. George, just across from the St. George subway (416 978-2190). You can walk in and talk to someone at the front desk without an appointment. Spring is just around the corner. Why not contact a financial aid counsellor in this season of new beginnings?

Financial Service Offices

Ask these Financial Service Offices about Student Financial Aid for part time students:


  • George Brown College Financial Assistance Office 416-415-5000 Ext. 2519 Try the George Brown College Assistance Fund.
  • Seneca College Student Financial Aid Office 416-491-5050 Ext 22480 Try the FCET Student Levy Bursary
  • Centennial College Student Financial Services Office 416-289-5300 Try Continuing Education Bursary and Part-time Day General Bursary
  • Durham College The Financial Aid and Awards Office 1- 905-721-3036
  • Humber College Financial Aid Office 416- 675-6622 North Campus Ext 4245 Try the continuing education tuition bursary
  • Sheridan College Student Financial Aid Office 905-815-4060 Trafalgar


  • G.Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University Financial Aid 416-975-5035 Also try The Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson bursaries 416-979-5193
  • York University Student Financial Services 416-736-5614-Undergraduate
  • University of Toronto Enrollment Services 416-978-2190
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology The Student Awards and Financial Aid Office 1-905-721-8668
  • University of Guelph Humber Financial Services 416-798-1331 Ext 6256

Toronto, Canada