Institutional Student Financial Grants in Ontario

Research Summary:

In Institutional Student Financial Grants in Ontario, the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) analyzes the type and amount of financial assistance provided to students by Ontario universities and colleges. EPI uses quantitative data obtained from postsecondary institutions through a nationwide survey, supplemented with qualitative interviews with key financial aid officials at institutions across Ontario.

EPI finds that in terms of providing merit-based awards, Ontario institutions are comparable to their peers in other provinces. However, Ontario colleges and universities significantly outperform institutions in the rest of Canada in both financial support for graduate students and need-based aid to undergraduates. This is attributed to a variety of government policy interventions—such as the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund/Ontario Trust for Student Support (OSOTF/OTSS), the tuition set-aside, and the Student Access Guarantee (SAG)—that mandate institutions to dedicate funds to student support.

This paper represents one portion of a joint project with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF). CMSF participation was instrumental in conducting a nationwide survey and producing results comparable among provinces.


The Educational Policy Institute is a private, for-profit collective association of researchers and policy analysts with the goal dedicated to the mission of enhancing knowledge of critical barriers facing students and families throughout the educational pipeline. EPI also focuses on learning quality issues within higher education systems.​