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Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Emergency Bursary

The Student Financial Assistance (SFA) emergency bursary is for students going through an unforeseen financial crisis that directly impacts their academic progress or success in a material manner. It is a one-time bursary presented to a student currently enrolled in a domestic undergraduate, continuing education or law program. Applicants must sign an award agreement and adhere to the Proof of Spending Policy (outlined below).

If you are a student who has received an emergency bursary in the past, you cannot be considered for it again. If a student receives this bursary, it should not be relied on as a main source of income. It is not intended to fund a student's entire unmet financial need.

The SFA emergency bursary is not meant to address funding shortfalls where government financial aid (OSAP, out-of-province funding, government social assistance, savings, or employment income) is insufficient to cover educational expenses.

The SFA emergency bursary is only available in the fall and winter semesters. It is not available in the spring or summer semester.

Typically, the SFA emergency bursary becomes available during, or the week after, Study Week. Once available, it can be found on the Toronto Metropolitan University's (TMU) scholarship platform, AwardSpring (external link) Please apply with your AwardSpring profile during the specified time. Deadline dates vary by school year and semester. To confirm deadline dates, refer to your AwardSpring profile once the emergency bursary becomes available.

An application to the SFA emergency bursary does not guarantee that the student will be a successful recipient.

To be eligible for the SFA emergency bursary, a student must:

  • Provide appropriate documentation to support the emergency situation that has occurred. This can include, but is not limited to, police reports, emails, banking documents, invoices/receipts, etc.
  • Demonstrate that they have depleted all other financial resources. This includes government student aid such as OSAP or out-of-province student aid, employment income (EI) or an equivalent government aid program, insurance benefits, and personal financial resources
  • Be officially registered in a program of study at TMU
  • Have a clear academic standing
  • Have a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 1.67 or higher
  • Complete an Award Agreement attestation during the application process, which includes adherence to the Use of Funds and Proof of Spending Policies

Students will not be considered for the SFA emergency bursary for the following possible reasons:

  • Have not applied for government student aid. Students are expected to utilize available aid
  • Declined to receive available loan funding via government student aid
  • Received another emergency bursary from TMU. This is a one-time award
  • Travel, field trips, hotels, or conference fees
  • Apparel (clothing or accessories)
  • Clearing debts, including credit cards, bank loans, educational loans, mortgages
  • Gifts or loans 
  • Anticipated future hardship. They must presently be in an emergency situation at the time of application
  • Costs related to being a post-secondary student, including commuting 
  • Paying tuition or residence fees 
  • Funeral expenses
  • Requests to support family members, including parents/guardian or spouses 
  • Medical expenses and medication costs
  • Claims otherwise covered by insurance. This includes damages sustained to belongings or merchandise
  • Gambling 
  • Alcohol, drugs, or cannabis
  • Lawyer fees

Funding will not be approved on a contingent basis (for example, situations where financial need is dependent on/resting on certain circumstances). Funding will only be granted in emergency situations that have occurred.

For more support, please refer to our Additional TMU Resources.

Applications for the SFA emergency bursary are completed through AwardSpring (external link, opens in new window) .

An application to the SFA emergency bursary is a request, not a guarantee.

Applications are assessed within two to four business days after submission. Once reviewed, you will receive an update emailed to your TMU email address.

To successfully apply for the SFA emergency bursary, refer to the instructions below:

  1. If you have not already done so, create a profile on AwardSpring (external link, opens in new window) . Be sure to select that you wish to be considered for awards, scholarships, and bursaries that require a demonstration of financial need. An example of this is highlighted below:

    A screen in AwardSpring asking you to confirm if you would like to be considered for awards, scholarships and bursaries. The second question asks you to indicate if you are a current TMU student or an applicant.
  2. Follow the instructions on AwardSpring to apply for the emergency bursary. Review the application deadline. Make sure that you apply fully and correctly within the deadline date. Late applications will not be considered.

    Example screen of what you will encounter when you are eligible to apply for the Emergency Bursary.

    The screenshot above is a sample image. Please note that your dashboard items may differ based on your items to complete.

If you experience any issues with the AwardSpring platform, please contact the Student Awards and Scholarships Office by email at To ensure your email is answered in a timely manner, please make your email subject line "SFA Emergency Bursary Application Issue."

Students cannot choose how to receive their bursary. This is determined by the bursary committee. Eligible SFA emergency bursary recipients may receive their funds directly to their student account (MyServiceHub) or to an external electronic Interac e-Transfer payment tool (PayMyTuition). The specific funding disbursement method will be outlined in the decision email sent to the student’s TMU email. All applicants to the SFA emergency bursary will receive a decision email.

Funding timelines depend on the disbursement method:

  • To the student account (MyServiceHub): Funds are processed and posted to the student account within five business days from the date of the email decision.
  • To PayMyTuition: Funds are processed and received within 10 to 15 business days. For detailed PayMyTuition instructions (with screenshots), please refer to Domestic e-Transfer Refunds via PayMyTuition.

When you apply to the SFA emergency bursary, you attest that you will use the funds for their intended purpose, based on the reason you were awarded. Because of this, if you are a successful recipient, you are required to provide proof of spending.

You must provide proof of spending to SFA within 30 calendar days of the date you are awarded the bursary. Proof of spending must be completed on AwardSpring (external link) . The award date is the date you receive your congratulatory email to your institutional email address. Proof of funds can take the form of itemized receipts or invoices or both.

If funding is awarded for tuition purposes, proof of spending is not required since funds will be posted directly to your student account (MyServiceHub).

If you are unable to provide proof of spending within 30 calendar days, the bursary amount will be reversed and added to the MyServiceHub account. You will then be responsible for reconciling the balance, subject to relevant late fees and account holds.

To successfully provide receipts, refer to the instructions below:

  1. After you are awarded, a follow-up item will appear on your AwardSpring dashboard, indicating that you have additional work to complete. Click the Complete button to provide the required receipts/invoices.

    Highlighting the Complete button on the Follow-up Student Financial Assistance Emergency Bursary panel.

    The screenshot above is a sample image. Please note that your dashboard items may differ based on your items to complete.

  2. You can upload up to five receipts or invoices as proof of spending. Include a description for each item uploaded. Once you are done, click the Submit Follow-Up button to submit.

    The AwardSpring dashboard displaying the upload panel to complete the bursary process.

    The screenshot above is a sample image. Please note that your dashboard items may differ based on your items to complete.

Bursaries are considered part of a student’s annual taxable income. For more information on tax receipts, visit TMU tax receipts.

  • The SFA emergency bursary is exempt as study period income. A student’s OSAP will not be impacted if they are a successful bursary recipient.
  • If you (the student) are a successful recipient of the SFA emergency bursary, please do not report it on your OSAP application. Our SFA team reports all awards, scholarships, and bursaries from TMU onto your OSAP application.
  • Recipients of the SFA emergency bursary will reduce their available funding from the Student Access Guarantee (SAG). The bursary committee reserves the right to decline a recipient if their SAG will be substantially and negatively impacted.

We recognize that financial challenges sometimes come with other personal struggles. Below are a number of resources to support you and your well-being:

  • Career Boost: The institution’s award-winning student employment program, Career Boost, offers paid jobs to eligible students.
  • Financial Literacy (FinLit) (opens in new window) : An online guide that provides a general overview of financial literacy, including reading materials, videos and personal finance workshops available at the University.
  • The Good Food Centre (external link, opens in new window) : They offer hunger relief to help you through a difficult period.
  • Development and Counselling: Counsellors can meet with you one-on-one to discuss a wide variety of personal concerns or crisis situations.
  • Study Skills and Transition Support: Could your study skills use some work? Learn new strategies and tools including specialized support for writing, math and English.
  • Academic Accommodation Support: Accommodations are available for temporary or permanent disabilities including assistive technology, academic arrangements, financial assistance and more.
  • Student Wellbeing: If you’re looking for help making healthy lifestyle changes, check out the many programs, resources and services to help you thrive.
  • Subsidized Electricity: If you are from a low-income household, you may be eligible for additional financial assistance through one or more publicly-funded programs, such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), and the Energy Affordability Program (EAP).
  • Canada Learning Bond: The Canada Learning Bond is money that the government adds to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for children from low-income families.