Finding the Perfect Fully Funded Scholarship in Canada

Understanding Fully Funded Scholarships

Thinking about continuing your education but worried about how to afford it? Fully funded scholarships can help ease those financial concerns by covering the full cost of your degree. Canada offers various scholarship programs that pay tuition, living expenses, and other education costs so you can focus on your academic pursuits without the added stress of how to pay the bills.

Before diving into specific scholarship programs, it’s important to define what a “fully funded” scholarship entails. A fully funded scholarship covers all education and living costs associated with your degree without requiring you to take on student loans or pay out-of-pocket.

These costs can include:

  • Tuition and mandatory fees
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Transportation to and from campus
  • Health insurance (if not already covered)
  • Occasional travel related to your program of study
  • Stipends for personal expenses

Scholarships that only cover tuition are considered “partially funded.” While tuition assistance is certainly helpful, fully funded scholarships go above and beyond by removing all financial barriers to continuing your education. You have the freedom to focus solely on your studies without the stress of working multiple jobs or accumulating debt.

Not all scholarships meet the “fully funded” criteria, so it’s important to carefully review award details. Maintaining good grades may be required to renew funding each year as well. Now, let’s explore some of the top fully funded scholarship programs offered in Canada.

Federal Government Scholarships

The Canadian federal government offers various scholarship opportunities through multiple departments and agencies. Three of the most well-known fully funded options include:

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Vanier Scholarships support doctoral students across all disciplines. Canadians and those with permanent resident status are eligible to apply in their first or second year of a Ph.D. program.

Awards provide $50,000 per year for up to three years. Aside from covering tuition, fees, and living expenses, Vanier Scholars receive an additional $10,000 in research allowance per year. Outstanding academics and research potential are required.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

For outstanding postdoctoral researchers, Banting Fellowships provide up to two years of fully funded support through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Canadians and permanent residents who recently earned their PhD are eligible to apply.

The award includes a $70,000 stipend per year plus a $4,000 research allowance. An additional $7,000 per year family allowance is available for fellowship recipients with dependents. A top-notch research proposal and potential for future research excellence are necessary.

Canada Graduate Scholarships

Available through NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR, Canada Graduate Scholarships grant Master’s and PhD students up to $17,500 or $35,000 per year, depending on program level. Tuition, fees, living expenses, and research costs are all covered for up to three years.

To be considered, applicants must hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residency. Academic merit is evaluated based on transcripts, reference letters, and research proposals. Open to both domestic and international studies depending on funding agency rules.

Provincial Government Scholarships

Each province also has its own scholarship programs aimed at developing local talent. Here are a few fully funded examples:

Ontario Graduate Scholarship

The province of Ontario offers Master’s and Ph.D. students an annual stipend of $15,000 and $17,500, respectively, through the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Tuition is additionally covered for eligible students pursuing graduate studies at an eligible Ontario university.

Applicants must possess Canadian citizenship or permanent residency status with high academic standing to apply. OGS is highly competitive and intended to recognize top students in all disciplines.

BC Graduate Scholarships

Through Advanced Education, Skills and Training BC, the province awards scholarships for graduate research at public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.

Two tiers exist – Master’s awards provide $16,500 per year, while Doctoral awards distribute $20,000 annually. Both fully cover tuition and provide additional funds for a research allowance. Eligibility requires Canadians/permanent residents to study at a BC school.

New Brunswick Graduate Scholarships

For residents of New Brunswick attending graduate studies in the province, NB Graduate Scholarships offer $18,000 per year at the Master’s level and $20,000 for PhD studies. Tuition and mandatory fees are also paid, along with a $2,000 research/travel allowance each year.

Strong academics are expected. Preference is given to students whose proposed research aligns with provincial priority areas. Open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Institutional Scholarships

Many Canadian universities offer competitive, merit-based scholarships directly through their graduate schools. Award levels vary significantly but can also fully fund studies. Here are a few prominent examples:

University of Toronto Fellowship

Considered one of the most prestigious in Canada, U of T Fellowships cover full tuition and provide an annual stipend of $20,000 to selected Ph.D. students across all disciplines. Canadians and permanent residents are eligible after their first year of graduate studies.

Renewal is contingent upon maintaining high research and academic standards each year. Exceptional previous work and future potential are expected of applicants.

McGill Excellence Fellowship

McGill University awards a limited number of full graduate funding packages named Excellence Fellowships. Fully funded Masters students receive $17,500 per year, while Doctoral Fellows are granted $20,000 annually plus tuition remission.

Canadians, permanent residents, and international applicants are all considered. Recipients will have an excellent academic track record and well-developed research skills. Available in many faculties.

University of Alberta Graduate Tuition Scholarship

The U of A GTS program supports talented researchers with full tuition coverage and a $16,500 stipend per year. At the Masters level, the award lasts one to two years, while PhD GTS funding continues for up to four years total.

Both Canadian citizens and international students can compete for these highly competitive funding packages. Academic merit and research excellence are reviewed closely.

Fellowship Options for Specific Fields

Some scholarship foundations focus funding in specific disciplines or industries. Here are a few examples of fully funded awards limited to certain majors or career paths:

Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements

Available through CIHR for talented Ph.D. and postdoctoral students in the life sciences, these supplements provide up to CAD $6,000 for international research visits or conference travel costs. Renewable annually.

Eligible students must already hold a national Tri-Council award such as a Vanier, Banting, or CGS. The application requires explanations of the supplement’s importance to research training and future career plans.

Rick Hansen Graduate Fellowship

The Rick Hansen Institute funds up to five master’s or Ph.D. students annually who are conducting research related to spinal cord injury. Funding covers tuition, living expenses, books/supplies and includes a $20,000 stipend.

Applicants must be studying at a Canadian university and have a research proposal aligned with the Institute’s mission. Renewed annually based on satisfactory progress. Open to Canadian and international students.

School of Public Policy Scholarships

University of Calgary awards $20,000 yearly scholarships for full-time study in its Master of Public Policy program. Tuition is additionally paid by the School.

Highly sought after, these named scholarships honor distinguished Canadians and their public service. Academic merit and a passion for policymaking are priorities in candidate selection.

Application Tips and Timelines

Now that you’re familiar with various fully funded options, here are some general tips for applying:

  • Review eligibility rules carefully to confirm you qualify
  • Start your application well ahead of deadlines which often fall between October-January
  • Request transcripts, reference letters and required documentation early
  • Take time to thoroughly answer application questions and edit responses
  • Highlight past academic and research achievements specifically
  • Connect experience and interests clearly to proposed program of study
  • Proofread for errors before submitting your application

Scholarship applications have fairly rigid deadlines and late applications won’t be considered. It’s best to initiate the process a minimum of 2-3 months in advance, longer if you need transcripts sent internationally. Remember – these awards are highly competitive, so put your best application foot forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about fully funded scholarships in Canada:

What are my chances of receiving a fully funded award?

Scholarship success rates vary widely by program but tend to be around 10-15% on average. More prestigious awards like Vanier or Banting Fellowships are often 5% acceptance or lower. Your odds increase significantly with a strong GPA, research experience, reference letters, and fit between your goals and the scholarship objectives. Considering multiple funding options is recommended.

Do I need to be a Canadian citizen to apply?

While citizenship or permanent residency is usually required for federal and provincial awards, many institutional scholarships welcome international applicants as well. Always check eligibility rules carefully, as they can differ depending on the specific scholarship program. Some additional tips:

  • As suggested, federal awards like Vanier, Banting, and Canada Graduate Scholarships require Canadian or permanent resident status.
  • Most provincial scholarships also have a citizenship/residency component, but this can vary between programs.
  • Many university scholarships are open to both domestic and international students, provided you will be studying at that institution full-time.
  • Privately funded awards may allow international applicants without any Canadian status requirements.

So, in summary – always verify the citizenship/residency policy stated for your potential scholarship options. Having Canadian status can help broaden eligibility, but quality international students still have funding opportunities available too.

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