The spread of COVID-19 is forcing many Canadians to make some difficult financial decisions, but education providers across the country are offering ways to ensure the choice to continue learning remains viable for anyone.
Schools of every kind — from universities and colleges to those offering workshops and bootcamps — began rolling out financial assistance not long after the novel coronavirus forced most of us to shelter-in-place.
The options include scholarships, bursaries, flexibility around payment options and, in some cases, COVID-19 relief funds. Several schools are also offering free courses or online resources at unprecedented discounts.
Depending on what you’re trying to study, it may be difficult to keep on top of these financial assistance programs. That’s why we’ve done the research for you and will be assembling all the details in one place. Bookmark this post or come back regularly as we add more schools and updates on existing programs.
Scholarships, Bursaries and Flexible Payments
Government of Canada
Students may be eligible for a program that offers $1,250 a month from May through August. This is part of an overall $9 billion financial aid program for post-secondary students.
“As many post-secondary students adapt to the new reality brought on by COVID-19, they are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on their ability to continue their studies, secure and retain summer employment, pay their bills, and save for tuition in the fall,” the government backgrounder says.
Those with a disability may be eligible for up to $1,750. The program is also open to students who have jobs but are making less than $1,000 a month. More info
An emergency bursary of up to $1,500 is available to students who have been enrolled in York’s School of Continuing Studies (domestic and international), and who have been studying between March 1 and April 30.
“The Emergency Bursary will help to provide immediate short-term relief for unexpected expenses related to emergency housing, rent, food and other costs due to COVID-19. It is not intended as a source of long-term funding,” the school’s site says. Examples include rent payments, meal expenses, transportation and childcare costs.
Applications will be reviewed by the end of May. More Info
The school’s COVID-19 Relief Bursary is open to both part-time and full-time students who have been enrolled in a Ministry-approved program between March 16 and April 17.
Details on the amounts available through the bursary have not been posted, but Centennial is asking those applying to include details such as a record of employment confirming lost wages and a bill for ISP services during March and April.
“The COVID-19 Relief Bursary will provide eligible students with some relief, notably to purchase food and/or to purchase internet access in order to engage in learning at a distance,” the school said. Money will be provided by direct deposit. More info
Described as an “Opportunity Fund,” UofT is investing $100,000 to support students affected by COVID-19.
Both new and returning students can apply for a one-time bursary of up to $750 to finance course tuition costs, though they’ll need to provide details that demonstrate their financial need.
“We have such a wonderful, dedicated community of people who have taken the skills and knowledge they gain with us and used them to better the wider community we’re all a part of,” the school said. “This is one way we can continue to support their learning journeys, and to support new learners just getting started.”
Bursaries will be available until the fund has been spent, U of T added. More info
For the Spring and Summer semester, George Brown is offering flexible payment options for its students.
“While it may sometimes feel like optimism is in short supply, we hope you’re finding ways to cope with the challenges of pandemic,” the school said.
Tuition can be paid in full by June 1, for example, or split into three instalments over June, July and August.
The school has also reduced the minimum tuition deposit fee for full-time programs for the fall semester by 50 per cent. Students who wish to register for fall semester will now be expected to pay non-refundable deposits by June 22. More info
The coding bootcamp for web and mobile development has earmarked $500,000 for its COVID-19 Scholarship Fund. This is broken down into $5,000 for those attending full-time courses and $750 for part-time students.
“Accessibility is one of our main goals through everything we do, so we have made qualifying as simple as possible,” the school said, asking for a written statement about how the pandemic has affected working and studying. “We want to help teach you all you need to know to get back into work, in a new and more steady field.”
All the school’s other scholarships have been put on hold in the meantime. More info
Royal Roads University
The school is offering emergency funding as part of a program worth $14,000 that’s been launched through the B.S. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
While that program is focused on local students, those studying from other provinces and internationally may be eligible to get help through Royal Road’s own emergency funding bursary, which has been built though donations from faculty, staff, alumni and friends.
“I encourage Royal Roads students to apply for help as soon as they need it,” the school’s president and vice-chancellor said. “We’re here to help.” More info
BrainStation has teamed up with Rogers to announce a new Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship. The scholarship supports education and training for underrepresented groups interested in data science, design, web development, digital marketing and product management. More info
Free Courses, Discounts And Other Offers
The online educator is offering more flexible study and payment options, as well as custom payment plans. Speak to your mentor or tutor if you’re an existing student.
For those thinking of enrolling with CareerFoundry, meanwhile, a free course can be delivered via e-mail to help assess whether studying a subject like User Experience (UX) design is right for you. More Info
While the school’s in-person classes are on hold due to COVID-19, the organization formerly known as HackerYou is still offering courses and Bootcamp in a Live Online format, as well as offering ISAs and scholarships for them.
More recently, Juno Colleage also launched a Pay What You Can Income Share Agreement, which allows students to pay as much as they’d like upfront for their Bootcamp education, or as little as $1. More info.
If you have an unemployment benefit claim or other evidence you’ve faced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, Springboard will provide free access to its prep courses in fields such as data science and software engineering.
Every week, meanwhile, the school is hosting a free online “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session with instructors and mentors to anyone who might need career coaching. More info
Insisting that “learning has no limits,” the school is preparing to launch “Free Fridays,” where some of its most popular workshops in areas such as coding, marketing and UX design will be offered online for free.
The full schedule is online and will run until early June. More info
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing Magazine and B2B News Network. He is also the former Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief) at IT World Canada, a former technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada, and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca.