Arguably today more than ever, having a solid school experience is a foundation for a successful future. If you need help with finishing high school, applying to post-secondary education or apprenticeship programs, or finding a scholarship to help you with tuition and books, these resources are for you.
Since 2007, numerous changes have been introduced. In addition to the community based Crown Ward Education Championship Teams, the following financial and service supports are now available for youth from CAS care. Please note that in order to qualify for most benefits youth must apply for Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP). Click here to view a FAQ tip sheet from the Ministry.
Here we highlight some current supports available for youth in and from care with concrete ideas for improving their opportunities to succeed in school and maximize their academic potential. Click here to view PDF.
Scholarships, Grants, Loans and Bursaries
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
OSAP is an integrated provincial and federal government program that provides financial aid to postsecondary students with limited financial resources. Through OSAP, eligible students can receive grants and bursaries, as well as repayable loans to help pay for college or university. Students with specific needs may be considered for additional non-repayable assistance. For example: If you’re the first in your family to go to a post-secondary school, if you’re an Indigenous person, if you’re a current or former Crown Ward, or if you are a person with a permanent disability. OSAP applications can be completed online (Ontario.ca/OSAP). You are not required to report on your OSAP application any savings provided to you from your CAS under the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent program, nor your Extended Care and Maintenance allowance as income during your study period.
Starting in 2017-18, OSAP is changing. Visit the OSAP website for more information to find out what these changes could mean for you. You can also find out how much you may be eligible for from the new OSAP aid tool. (En français)
Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards
When you complete an OSAP Application for Full-Time Students and identify your Crown Ward status, you are considered for additional funding. Starting in 2017-18, OSAP is changing. Many existing provincial grants, including the grants for Crown Wards, are being replaced by a single, more generous, up-front grant. Students currently eligible to receive the existing Crown Wards grants will receive an equal or greater amount of grant funding through the new OSAP. (En français)
Ontario Student Opportunity Grant
This grant may be awarded to help reduce your student debt load. The amount awarded will be dependent upon the length of your program and the amount of OSAP that you receive. You do not apply for this grant; however, you must file your tax return. The grant is paid directly to the National Student Loans Service Centre (the organization that manages student loans) to reduce your loan amount. Starting in 2017-18, OSAP is changing. Many existing provincial grants, including the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant, are being replaced a single, more generous, up-front grant. The new Ontario Student Grant will also ensure that your total student debt load is reduced similar to the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant (En français)
Renewed Youth Supports
CASs are now allowed to provide funding and support to youth whose care was terminated at age 16 or 17 and were previously unable to receive services from a CAS. These supports will provide financial assistance to youth living independently or in a residential placement, and will help youth to achieve better educational outcomes.
Clark Awards Program
The Clark Bursary Award is available to current and former youth in care pursuing post-secondary education. Chosen nominees attending university will receive $4500 per year for up to four years; Students attending college will receive $3000 per year for two or three years. The Clark Grants Award is a one-time grant of $1000 for young people pursuing a skills development program. Your worker must nominate you for any of these awards.
RONA Home and Garden stores have raised funds in support of the Children’s Aid Foundation, by selling JJ teddy bears. In 2012, 15 one-time scholarships of $3000 are available to current and former youth in care pursuing post-secondary education. You must complete the application form with your worker for this scholarship. Each agency may only make one nomination.
PHD Canada Scholarship
PHD has raised money with their Big Hug Charity Day, and has also hosted an annual golf tournament with proceeds supporting OACAS and children and youth in care. Seven one-time scholarships of $3000 are available to current and former youth in care pursuing post-secondary education. Each agency may only make one nomination.
National Youth In Care Network – Ken Dryden Scholarship
Named after a former NHL hockey star, this scholarship of up to $3000 per year is available to current or former youth in care who are pursuing post-secondary education. The dealine for applications is the first Friday in March each year.
Ontario Student Opportunity Grant
This grant may be awarded to help reduce your student debt load. The amount awarded will be dependent upon the length of your program and the amount of OSAP that you receive. You do not apply for this grant; however, you must file your tax return. The Grant is paid directly to the National Student Loans Service Centre (the organization that manages student loans). (En français)
Storwell offers an annual bursary of $2,000 in support of foster children to help them attend post-secondary schools and to offer a hand up as they make their way forward in life.
This website has an extensive database to find scholarships, bursaries and grants. It is searchable by school, or by field of study. Details about how to apply and requirements for each are provided. You’ll also find information about student loans, applications and budget planning.
With $87 million in financial awards available to StudentAwards members, students from across Canada come to us to find money for school. We have scholarships, bursaries, contests, specialized student offers, giveaways and other financial assistance to help students win, earn and save the money they need for their education.
Ontario Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program
If you are a current or former Crown ward, and a first-time postsecondary student, you can apply to have the application fees for your study program reimbursed to you. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will consider your application fees for the first five schools that you apply to. (En français)
Service Canada – Programs for Youth
The government of Canada has a number of grant, loan and scholarship programs for youth studying at all levels of education. Find out all the types of financial assistance available to you by checking out their site. (En français)
Scholarships for Aboriginal Students
The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society has assembled a list of scholarships available to Aboriginal students attending post-secondary school in Ontario. The amounts, deadlines and additional information about each of the 20 scholarships and bursaries are listed on the site.
Scholarships for Aboriginal and Métis Students
The Métis Nation of Ontario has assembled this list of scholarships and bursaries for Aboriginal and Métis students in Ontario. There are funds available from various Canadian businesses, foundations and government organizations.
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Serving Lakehead University and Laurentian University students for the field of medicine, these financial awards and bursaries are available only to Aboriginal students.
Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada
This list of nine bursaries, scholarships and awards are for Aboriginal students in a number of different streams of education: arts, technology, science and business. There are also bursaries listed for students who simply demonstrate a financial need. (En français) The AFOA also administers its own award program for First Nation youth in grades 11 and 12. Winners attend AFOA’s National Conference and participate in a special Youth program designed to introduce youth to careers in Aboriginal finance and management.
Lakehead University – Aboriginal Native Canadian Student Awards
This Thunder Bay university has assembled a list of awards, scholarships and bursaries for new and returning Aboriginal students. Some awards specify a particular stream of study, others are available to any Aboriginal student with a stated grade average and demonstrated financial need. Take a look!
University of Toronto Advance Planning for Students (UTAPS)
This financial aid program is for full time students who are eligible for student assistance or funding from a First Nations band and are not receiving funds from OSAP. Students must apply for funding through their band from the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
Schools and Programs
If you’re a high school student or a mature student looking for information on college or university, have a look at schoolfinder.com. You’ll find all kind of information about college and university programs, tuition, facilities, admission requirements and deadlines. You will also find information on scholarships and financial aid, events and careers.
Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC)
If you are applying to an Ontario University, your application must go through the OUAC. The OUAC processes applications for all under- and post-graduate University programs in Ontario. There are different application forms high school students and different types of undergraduate students. (En français)
The Ontario Colleges website can help youth make a plan to attend one of Ontario’s 28 colleges and find an educational program that is a good fit for their skill set. Youth can apply online to five colleges, and even confirm their offer of acceptance via the website.
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a school-to-work transition program offered through Ontario secondary schools. Full-time students in Grades 11 and 12 earn cooperative education credits through work placements in skilled trades. To learn more about OYAP, contact your local high school guidance counsellor, your co-op education teacher or the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program Coordinator for your school board. (En français)
GED – High School Equivalency
If you didn’t finish high school and would like to earn your diploma, this organization can help. They are equipped to help assess your readiness to take the GED test and can coach you to gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed at the GED test and achieve great results.
Independent Learning Centre
This organization helps adults who left high school without a diploma to obtain their GED. Their helpful handbook can explain what the GED test is, if you’re eligible to take it and how to prepare for and apply for the test. (En français)
Private Career Colleges
These private post-secondary schools offer certificates and diplomas that can help you develop a specific skill set, and are available in a wide variety of program areas with numerous enrollments throughout the year.
Contact North | Contact Nord
This distance education and training network supports Ontario’s public colleges, universities and school boards’ online learning courses and programs. These online learning opportunities are offered by Ontario’s 24 public colleges, 20 public universities, as well as a range of other education groups that can help you earn a range of credentials, including high school equivalency; a college certificate, diploma, or applied degree; or a university degree. The organization specializes in serving rural, francophone and Aboriginal communities. (En français)
Pathways to Education
If you live in a low income community and left school early, this national organization can provide you with financial, academic and social support to succeed and graduate. There are eight service areas in Ontario – check them out to see if they can help you. (En français)
Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities – Info for Crown Wards
If you’re struggling with a decision about your future career, it’s a good idea to talk with your worker, foster parent(s), guidance counsellor and/or teacher about where you see yourself in the future. This ministry website can help you with some of the next steps: choosing a program, choosing a school and applying to a post-secondary institution.
The Canlearn website has lots of helpful information about saving for school, planning what type of career you’d like, student loans and how to apply, how to pay those loans back, and even how to continue your education after post-secondary. (En français)
Ontario Universities’ Fair
Every fall, you’ll have the opportunity to find out about Ontario’s 21 universities in one place. The Ontario Universities’ Fair starts in Toronto and then travels across Ontario, with events in cities and towns in most regions. You can find out universities near and far, and make better informed decisions about the programs and services that each school offers. A three-day fair event is scheduled in Toronto from Sept. 28-30, so start thinking about some key questions to ask at the fair. (En français)
North Bay Literary Council
The North Bay Literacy Council is a community based literacy agency dedicated to helping adults improve their reading, writing, spelling, math and computer skills. Improved literacy can help your ability to think, to communicate, to problem solve, to continually learn and to use technology.
Students with Different Learning Styles
Transition Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities
This Resource Guide from the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario can help you to identify your needs and available resources at the school of your choice. It can also help you to plan and prepare what you need for your application and admissions process. Work through this document with your worker and your guidance counsellor at school to ensure that you will have an easy transition to college or university.
Learning Disabilities and Post-Secondary Education
If you have a special need when it comes to learning and accommodation, the best thing you can do is become a self-advocate: That means being vocal about what would be helpful and finding out what your chosen school can offer you to help you do your very best at school. (En français)
Navigating College: A Handbook on Self-Advocacy for Autistic Students
This US-based resource has some good information and advice about how to find resources and accommodations, and was written by students with Autism. No matter which school you choose, it will likely have a department for students with disabilities that can help you and provide you with tools and resources to make your learning experience a great one. These strategies for self-advocacy can be useful for any student.
Post-Secondary Student Support Program
If you are an eligible Status Indian or Inuit student and plan on doing post-secondary studies on a part-time or full-time basis and are registered with an eligible post-secondary institution, you may qualify for financial support. (En français)
Financial Survival Tips for Prospective Aboriginal Students
in Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions
Produced by a University of Toronto First Nation Aboriginal Student Services magazine, this article outlines the frequent myths linked to Aboriginal students attending post-secondary school, and also explains some of the processes for applying for Aboriginal-specific grants and funding for students.
Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre – Queen’s University
This five-minute video explains some of the services offered to Aboriginal and First Nations students attending Queen’s University. This school has an Aboriginal admissions policy which reserves spots in competitive programs specifically for Aboriginal students. The video also explains the services, programs and scholarships offered through the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.
Indigenous Services – University of Western Ontario
The University of Western Ontario offers a number of programs and services for Aboriginal students. Students can receive extra personal and/or cultural supports while attending UWO, and can also find some learning resources like computer labs, study area and a collection of more than 1200 resources. Students can also book half hour appointments to meet with a visiting Elder throughout the academic year.
Ontario College and Universities Aboriginal Resource Departments
The Aboriginal Canada Portal has assembled this list of university and college programs, courses and services intended for Aboriginal students. (En français)