scholarships & awards

Understanding Scholarships

When looking through the scholarships and awards available from Innis College, it helps to focus on the specific conditions of the awards. When do you get them? What kinds of achievement do they recognize? Do you need to apply? And so on. This page tries to break it down for you both to understand the table of Innis Awards [click here], but perhaps also to help understand other awards.

Awards for New, Returning, and Graduating Students

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This is perhaps the easiest category of awards to understand. You have admission awards which are offered to potential students. The vast majority of these are based on academics, specifically the admission average used to admit a student. Some come from U of T generally, some from the Faculty of Arts and Science, and some from the College, like Innis.

Note: Admission awards almost always go just to students coming into first year out of high school. Students transferring from another university/post-secondary institution normally do not qualify.

Returning students receive what we call in-course awards: so a student is recognized for something done as a student, and it is often paid out (but not always) when a student returns the next Fall/Winter. One thing to be careful of is this: if you change your Faculty or even your college, you may want to see whether eligibility for an in-course award is affected.

And last, awards for graduating students are exactly what they seem: to qualify, a candidate must be slated to or have graduated within a specific time frame.

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What Awards Can Recognize

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Awards, even those just based at U of T, are very diverse in terms of what they look to honour. It is true, the vast majority focus in some way on academics; you will see phrases like “academic merit” or “merit-based”. But even then, what a particular award might focus on depends on that award. As mentioned above, admission awards that look at marks usually look at the admission average used to admit a student.

For Innis College, nearly all awards based on academic merit that are “in-course” (see above) go to students based on a very particular procedure at this College, as indicated in this box text.

At Innis, our in-course awards that are based on academic achievement are looked at once a year, in the Fall. As per the direction of our Innis governing committees, we look at students in the previous 12 months (previous Summer or previous Fall/Winter academic sessions) and pick out those who reached 5, 10, or 15 academic credits and look at the cumulative Grade Point Average. Typically a CGPA of 3.7 is needed for consideration.

Note: those credit “thresholds” (5/10/15) are based on credits completed at the Faculty for degree credit, and so do not include transfer credits or courses marked “extra”. However, Credit/No-Credit courses do count towards the credit total, even as those courses do not affect CGPA.

Related to academic merit may be specific academic connections – for example, Innis College has scholarship that recognize high academic achievement but for students in specific programs (Cinema Studies, Urban Studies, or Writing and Rhetoric, for example) or students studying in a specific category like Humanities, Social Sciences, or Sciences. Sometimes academic merit is judged not on cumulative Grade Point Average but a specific piece of academic work, like an essay or project.

Finally, some scholarships focus on achievement outside the classroom, specifically leadership, extracurricular involvement, and volunteer work. At Innis we tend to think of these as “Leadership” awards as a single category, though even then, awards may differ in terms of where you did your community work (in Residence, at Innis College, on campus, or off) and such awards may look also at academic achievement as well.

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Financial Need

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Many of the scholarships at Innis and across the University may indicate they go to candidates with “demonstrated financial need”. Each department or division or college may decide this differently. At Innis, we focus on this question: does the student need to rely on external funding like a loan to be able to go to University? Or can the student otherwise demonstrate they lack enough money to get by?

Some awards that need a candidate to “demonstrate financial need” therefore have applications, but sometimes students who are being considered for awards may be contacted for financial information.

A special notation that appears on many of these awards, which can be variously, “OSOTF”, “OSOTF II” or “OTSS”, are a special sub-group of need-based awards that were partially funded by the Ontario government. Such awards not only require a candidate to demonstrate financial need but also be an Ontario resident. As such, qualifying for or receiving OSAP is the simplest way to show eligibility.

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Need to Apply?

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If a scholarship is only based on marks, and the scholarship comes from U of T or some division of U of T, you probably don’t have to apply. Administrators can look up marks. If a scholarship clearly requires other information that would not readily be available, chances are there’s an application in there somewhere. But the best thing to do is to read information online carefully and if you are not sure, ask. Click here to view a list of Innis-based awards that require applications.

When do you apply? Again, depends on the award and what it looks at. Big times to apply can be towards the end of a Fall/Winter Session (starting March) but that is by no means universally true.

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Other Considerations

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The above details do not cover every criterion an award may have, and it may simply require reading awards carefully to see what the restrictions are. We’ve covered criteria around marks, leadership, affiliation (like program of study) and financial need. But some awards may be further restricted, like to a year of study, or a special personal circumstance.

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If you have questions about a particular award at Innis, do not hesitate to contact Daniela Pirraglia, the financial aid counselor at the Innis College Registrar’s Office. Some help or advice may also be possible for awards outside Innis – it cannot hurt to ask!