Funding for Indigenous Undergraduate Students

On this page: McGill Okòn:ra Undergraduate AwardMcGill Entrance ScholarshipProvost's Indigenous Achievement AwardMcGill Entrance BursaryIn-Course Financial AidIndspire’s Building Brighter Futures Program | More Resources

The following award programs are dedicated to Indigenous students pursuing a Bachelor's degree, and where indicated an Undergraduate Professional degree in Medicine (MDCM), Dentistry (DMD), and/or Law (BCL&JD).

McGill Okòn:ra Undergraduate Award

This Awards program is new as of Fall 2022 for incoming and returning students!

Okòn:ra, the Mohawk word for Red Oak, is a symbol of strength, morale, resistance, and knowledge. The Oak is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied in its towering strength. It grows slowly, but surely at its own rate. The oak tree grows on McGill’s campuses and red is McGill’s school colour.

It is our sincere hope that these awards will provide a welcome source of support, and demonstrate the University’s priority to celebrate undergraduate Indigenous scholars and their academic merit to gain admission to our outstanding institution.

What Award of $5,000 in each year of study, to a maximum of $20,000 per student per degree
How

A complete application to Indspire every academic year and Indspire’s confirmation of Indigenous affiliation and Canadian citizenship.

Selection periods are based on three Indspire application deadlines:

  • August 1st
  • November 1st 
  • February 1st
Eligibility

Indigenous students in full-time studies in any McGill undergraduate degree program, including on-campus Bachelors, Law (BCL/JD), Medicine (MDCM), and Dentistry (DMD).

Exceptions are granted when students are ‘deemed full-time’, for example, due to a documented disability requiring academic accommodation as confirmed by Student Accessibility & Achievement, or as recognized by government aid programs due to young dependent child(ren).

Recipients are permitted to hold the Okòn:ra Undergraduate Award alongside other scholarships or bursaries received from McGill or other sources.
Award Payment Based on the outcome of Indspire’s evaluation, McGill’s Scholarships & Student Aid Office will process payment to the recipient’s bank account (or fee account if bank account information is not provided by students in Minerva). The actual disbursement date is dependent on the timing of the student’s application as well as the communication by Indspire’s confirmation of eligibility.
Renewable This award is not automatically renewed but will be granted with a complete application to Indspire in each year of study.

McGill Entrance Scholarship: Automatic and by Application

What Merit-based entrance scholarships are offered to students entering full-time Bachelor programs for the first time. Scholarship winners receive a notation on their transcript as well as perks such as early registration and top residence choices. One-time scholarships of $3,000 are automatically offered on the basis of incoming grades. Major renewable scholarships in denominations of $3,000 to $12,000 are considered based on a separate application in Minerva based on academic achievement and outstanding leadership in school or community activities.
How

One-time entrance scholarships are automatically offered based on grades from high school or CEGEP.

Students submit a separate Minerva application for major renewable entrance scholarships to be selected based on academic achievement as well as outstanding leadership in school or community activities. See application instructions, eligibility, and deadlines.
Eligibility

See minimum academic requirements based on CEGEP or High School grades.

Candidates must be enrolled full-time in a degree program at the University. Exceptions are granted when students are ‘deemed full-time’, for example, due to a documented disability requiring academic accommodation as confirmed by Student Accessibility & Achievement, or as recognized by government aid programs due to young dependent child(ren).

Transfer, Mature, Diploma, Exchange, Special, Part-time and Visiting students are not eligible for entrance scholarships.
Award Payment

Named entrance scholarship decisions (i.e. match to a specific scholarship) are communicated to recipients in late July and August.

Indigenous students may be matched with Indigenous-specific scholarships or other restricted and open scholarships.

Payment is effected accordingly in the upcoming academic year. Payment is credited to your fee account, one-half for each of the Fall and Winter terms of full-time study.

Renewable

The entrance scholarship offer letter will specify if the award is renewable. If renewable, the recipient must maintain a CGPA of 3.7, with a probationary sessional GPA of 3.5 in your first year of studies over 27 graded credits (see Regulations for details).

Students registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities may be eligible for scholarship renewals while pursuing a reduced course load.

Provost's Indigenous Achievement Award: Automatic Consideration

What

This is a $5,000 renewable admissions award given to Indigenous students with exceptional high school or CEGEP grades, and who are not granted a McGill Entrance Scholarship. One to three awards are issued every year based on academic merit.

How

No special application required. Recipients are determined at the time of Admissions based on exceptional grades from high school or CEGEP.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive this award, you must:

  1. Have confirmed Indigenous affiliation and Canadian citizenship.
  2. Have exceptional grades from high school or CEGEP.
  3. Be a first-time undergraduate student entering a degree program, including Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.
Award Payment

Based on the recommendation of McGill Admissions, the Scholarships and Student Aid Office will process payment to the recipient’s fee account. One-half of the payment will be issued for each of the Fall and Winter terms, on August 1st and January 1st respectively.

Renewable

This award is renewable for the duration of your studies.

In order for the award to be renewed, you must:

  1. Maintain a CGPA of 3.3.
  2. Maintain full-time status (minimum of 12 credits in each of the Fall and Winter semesters). Generally, recipients must maintain a minimum of 12 credits in each of the Fall and Winter semesters to be considered full-time. Exceptions may be granted, for example, when students are registered with the Student Accessibility & Achievement for a documented disability requiring academic accommodation.

McGill Entrance Bursary: By Application

What To ensure no student forgoes an offer of McGill admissions solely due to financial constraints, our Entrance Bursaries make University more accessible by supplementing other resources such as Band Funding, part-time work, parental support, and other sources.
How

Upon notification of acceptance to the University (either by formal letter or via the Admissions Status page on Minerva), the application becomes available on Minerva: select the Financial Aid/Awards tab > Financial Aid Menu > Apply for a McGill Entrance Bursary > Apply to Entrance Bursary Program > Complete then submit your application.

Students are encouraged to apply within 30 days of their admission offer.
Eligibility

Those eligible to apply include all:

  • newly accepted, first-year, first-degree undergraduates, and
  • newly accepted, first-year undergraduate direct entrants to professional programs in Medicine and Law (with prior degree)
  • enroll in a full-time degree program at the University
  • have demonstrate financial need, including the intention to apply for government student aid and/or Indigenous Band Support Funding
Students registered with Student Accessibility & Achievement may be eligible for financial aid while pursuing a reduced course load.
Award Payment

Award decisions begin in February, and continue thereafter on a rolling basis, 2-3 weeks from the date of application submission and/or documentation receipt (where required). Decisions are posted on the Financial Aid/Awards tab on Minerva and are followed by a formal letter. Awardees are encouraged to pay special attention to their letter as it contains important information about the award.

Entrance bursaries are credited to your student fee account in two equal installments at the start of the fall and winter terms.

Indigenous students may be matched with Indigenous-specific bursaries as well as other restricted and open bursaries.

Renewable While fairly rare, the entrance bursary offer letter or the comments on the Minerva aid application will specify if the bursary is renewable. Students with renewable entrance bursaries must maintain satisfactory academic standing and continue to demonstrate financial need for subsequent years’ renewal by application each year.

In-Course Financial Aid: By Application

If you have exhausted these funding opportunities and/or other core funding (from band or other government agencies), and you are still facing financial challenges, there is still help!

In-Course Financial Aid programs including Bursaries, Loans, Work Study, and Fee Deferrals are available to all students pursuing Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs at McGill. Indigenous students may be matched with Indigenous-specific bursaries as well as other restricted and open bursaries.

To apply:

  1. Log in to Minerva.
  2. Access the Financial Aid menu in the Financial Aid/Awards tab.
  3. Update your Financial Profile and submit your application.
  4. Contact us to arrange a confidential appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor. During this meeting, not only will you have an opportunity to discuss your budget, but you will also have your in-course application reviewed in detail. Find out how you can optimize your financial aid appointment.

Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures Program

Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous peoples of Canada. You may apply to their Building Brighter Futures Program at Indspire, which has funding beyond McGill-specific awards. Selection periods are based on three Indspire application deadlines: August 1st, November 1st, and February 1st

And More Resources

Also, check out the First Peoples' House website for information about additional scholarships and bursaries available to Indigenous students. Be sure to check out the Indigenous Bursary Search Tool hosted by Indigenous Services Canada.

Back to top