Under the Archway: Helping students understand their financial support options

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This series explores support services for students at McMaster. These supports align with the university’s new Archway program, which provides a personal support program for incoming first-year students.

With the world changing rapidly around us, McMaster recognizes the uncertainty that many students are facing. In response, the university has taken steps to ensure students are safe and connected with all available support options.

There are several resources and relief options offered through the provincial and federal governments, and the university.  Students can exhaust all resources such as OSAP, CESB, CERB, RESP etc. and contact Student Services if there is continuing financial need where rent, food, meds, internet and other essentials cannot be covered. Below are a few financial resources for students.

OSAP – The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a government aid program that helps students pay for costs related to attending post-secondary school. Funding is offered through grants, which do not have to be paid back, and loans, which must be paid back once you are done school. For more information, check out our website or visit osap.gov.on.ca.

McMaster Aid & Awards – McMaster has several aid & award programs to help support students, including scholarships, bursaries and the work program. Learn more about these options on our website.

External Scholarships – Many organizations provide scholarships to students who meet certain criteria. Find these scholarships online, using a search tool like Scholarshipscanada.com or through local organizations. Indigenous Students can also explore aid and award opportunities through Indspire.

Student Emergency Relief Fund – As a current student or an individual who is concerned about affording university in the fall, McMaster has established an emergency fund to support students affected by COVID-19. Its purpose is to help students with food, rent, utility bills and can provide emergency bursaries and support for those caring for dependents during this time. Each student’s situation is unique and will reviewed by a Student Services Professional. Please contact Student Services for more information.

CERB – If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for temporary income support through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Learn more about this benefit on the Government of Canada website.

CESB – Students who do not qualify for CERB may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). This benefit is available if you are currently enrolled in post-secondary school, if you are beginning post-secondary school in September 2020 and if you graduated after December 2019. Find out more about this benefit on the Government of Canada website.

Are you an incoming first-year student? Navigating financial matters can be stressful. Our new Archway program can help you. Find out how.

Flexible payment options

Normally, fees are due either in full by September or in two installments, one in September and one in January. With the current economic challenges, we have created some options to hopefully help reduce the financial stress. For the 2020/21 academic year, students will have the option to make fee payments on an installment basis.

The university’s payment deadlines for undergraduates will remain; however, you can now choose to pay these fees in equal amounts over the four months of each term. No interest will be charged during the four months, but there will be a one-time deferral fee of $80 for students choosing this option each term. Find out more about your payment options.

Are you entering your first year at McMaster this fall? Get the proactive and personalized support you need through the Archway Program.

For more on your financial support options, please visit registrar.mcmaster.ca/covid-19 or contact Student Services.