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COVID-19 Emergency Support for FIFSW students

Dear Students:

In light of the financial uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 global public health pandemic, we are writing to announce that we have established an FIFSW COVID-19 Emergency Grant for students. We would also like to remind you of existing University and government supports that are available.

During our community updates, we heard from many of you about the multiple ways in which you have been flexible and resilient in response to this pandemic. We have also heard of the unexpected financial hardship faced by others.

In response, we have launched the FIFSW COVID-19 Emergency Grant for students who experienced COVID-19 related hardships occurring in March and April, 2020.

FIFSW COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Grants

The Emergency Grant is intended to assist FIFSW students currently registered full-time in the MSW Program or the PhD Program.

Grants of up to $500 are open to eligible Canadian citizens, permanent residents and international students. They are intended to help minimize financial hardship due to emergency expenses related to COVID-19.

  • FIFSW Students must apply online during the May 4 to May 15, 2020 application period.
  • Each request for emergency aid is considered on its own merits and is based on need associated with an educational program and unexpected critical costs incurred by students in March and April, 2020 as a direct result of COVID-19. Expenses that may be considered include unforeseen living costs, travel, moving costs, and other extraordinary and reasonable needs.

The grant is not able to cover expenses that are unrelated to COVID-19, such as existing debt obligations, nor will it cover non-essential expenses. Examples of ineligible expenses are outstanding tuition fees to U of T, summer tuition fees for courses taken elsewhere, partner or family expenses, expenses for mortgage or maintenance fees for a secondary residence and other discretionary expenses (e.g., missed car payment, gym membership).

The application for the FIFSW Emergency Assistance Grant is available via the FIFSW’s Internal Awards Database.

Students are asked to:

  • Complete all sections of the grant application and submit the form via the FIFSW Internal Award Database website.
  • Record your Canadian bank information on ACORN before you submit the grant request. You must record your Canadian bank information (i.e. Direct Deposit) on ACORN before you submit the grant application. This is the fastest way for you to receive funds. As the payment is automated, you will not be able to update or change your bank information once a decision is made on your grant application.

In the event that you are awarded funding, the payment will be processed directly to your Canadian bank, using information recorded on ACORN. If your Canadian bank account information is not recorded, a cheque will be mailed to your Canadian mailing address on ACORN.

Refer to the instructions to set up direct deposit if you have not done so already:

Additional support for students

Below is a list of additional opportunities for support being provided by the University and the provincial and federal governments.

University of Toronto

Government of Ontario

Temporary deferral of loan payments and interest accrual for OSAP borrowers from March 30 to September 30, 2020.

Government of Canada

The federal government has announced a number of programs to support students impacted by COVID-19. A backgrounder summarizing these initiatives can be found here. They include:

  • Enhancing student financial assistance for Fall 2020 through the Canada Student Loan Program
  • A proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit for those unable to work over the summer and ineligible for EI
  • A Canada Student ServiceGrant for those who participate in the COVID-19 response
  • Changes to the maximum work hours available toInternational Students working in an essential service or function
  • Expanded Student and Youth Programming

Other available financial aid

CBC News has compiled a helpful list of benefits currently provided by the federal government, provinces and territories to help those who have been financially affected by COVID-19.

We hope that you will find this information helpful at this time.


Dexter Voisin

David Burnes
Associate Dean, Academic