Financial Aid and Awards

Who we are and what we do

The value of your education will last a lifetime. Financial barriers should not be obstacles towards achieving your dreams: explore the numerous awards, scholarships and bursaries available to you.

The Financial Aid and Awards Office can help you find the resources, make sense of terminology, and assist with applications.

Whether you are starting your very first semester or continuing your studies, a student award in the form of a scholarship or bursary can help you achieve your goals. Awards are available for full-time or part-time students in certificate, diploma or degree programs.

Virtual drop-ins

Have a few quick questions to ask but don't want to book an appointment? Meet with us in a virtual drop-in session. 

Participants will:

  • enter into a virtual waiting room
  • get moved into a private virtual room by an advisor when it's their drop-in session
  • have 10 minutes to ask questions (need more time? Come back in for another drop-in session)

Drop-in dates and times are:

  • Tues 9 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Thur 1- 3:30 p.m.

Book an appointment

Book a virtual or phone appointment to learn more about financial aid at OC. 

Whether you are starting your very first semester or continuing your studies, a student award in the form of a scholarship or bursary can help you achieve your goals. 

Awards are available for full-time or part-time students in:

  • certificate programs
  • diploma programs
  • degree programs

Student Loans

Loans are funding that the student is required to repay.

Awards

Awards are funding that the student does not need to repay.

Other Funding

Other funding is available for emergency funding, upgrading and former youth in care.

Student loans

Loans are funding that the student is required to repay.

Eligibility for Financial Assistance

BC offers Canada-BC integrated loans that require only one application.  You are automatically assessed for any loan and grant you might be eligible for.

BC Residency Requirements

To receive student financial assistance through StudentAid BC, you must be a resident of BC according the criteria below.

For Independent students, residency is defined as the Canadian province you have most recently lived in for 12 continuous months (excluding time spent in full-time post-secondary study).

For Dependent students, residency is defined as the Canadian province in which your parent(s), step-parent(s), sponsor or legal guardian has most recently lived in for 12 continuous months.  If you parents are separated or divorced, or your parent is single, only one parent's financial information is required.  This is the parent who is your main financial supporter.

For more information, go to the BC Residency Requirement page

You must be enrolled in and attend a minimum of 60% course load (or 40% course load for students with permanent disabilities as approved by StudentAid BC) for the entire educational period covered by your application. The minimum 60% course load requirement as outlined by Okanagan College is:

  • All university transfer, degree and diploma programs: 9 credits per semester
  • All vocational, trades and health certificate programs: the full program as outlined in the Okanagan College Calendar
  • NOTE: If you will be taking less than the full program, you must speak with a Financial Awards Assistant to ensure you are enrolled in right amount of course load

Previously passed courses and courses which are audited or waitlisted, Adult Academic and Career Preparation (upgrading), and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) are NOT counted in the minimum course load requirement. It is your responsibility to ensure that the courses you are registered in meet the minimum course load require. Should you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid & Awards Office.

You are eligible for interest-free status if you:

  • Are attending Okanagan College full-time in an eligible program
  • Have started (or are within 30 days of starting), or have not finished your study period
  • Have not received funding for your current study period
  • Have student loan in good-standing

BC students please apply through StudentAid BC.

For student from other Provinces/Territories, please apply through your home province/territory.  Links can be found on the Out-of-Province/Territory tab.

NOTE: If you are receiving a loan for the current study period, you DO NOT need to request for interest-free status as once funds are released your file will be marked as “in class.”

  • Interest starts accruing immediately after you leave school, but you have a grace period of 6 months in which no payment is required. Repayment will start on the seventh month after you leave school. Visit Paying Back your Canada Student Loan for more information.
  • If you cannot afford the monthly payment on your student loan, there are Repayment Assistance plans available. Visit Repayment Assistance for more information.

If you are in a full-time student loan eligible program but taking the program on a part-time basis, you can apply for part-time funding. To receive student financial assistance through StudentAid BC, you must be a resident of BC.  Residency is defined as the Canadian province you have most recently lived in for 12 continuous months (excluding time spent in full-time post-secondary study).

BC offers Canada-BC integrated loans that requires only one application. Visit StudentAid BC to download the application.

Submit your completed application to the Financial Awards office.

Part-time students are enrolled in 20% to 59% course load (or 20% to 39% for students with permanent disabilities as approved by StudentAid BC). The 20% to 59% course load requirement as outlined by Okanagan College is:

  • All University transfer, degree and diploma programs: 3 to 6 credits per semester
  • All vocational, trades and health care certificate programs: please speak with a Financial Awards Assistant to ensure you are enrolled in right amount of course load

BC offers Canada-BC integrated loans that requires only one application.

You are eligible for interest-free status if you:

  • Are attending Okanagan College part-time in an eligible program
  • Have started (or are within 30 days of starting), or have not finished your study period
  • Have not received funding for your current study period
  • Have student loan in good-standing

BC students please apply through StudentAid BC.

For student from other Provinces/Territories, please apply through your home province/territory.  Links can be found on the Out-of-Province/Territory tab.

  • Interest starts accruing immediately after you leave school, but you have a grace period of 6 months in which no payment is required. Repayment will start on the seventh month after you leave school. Visit Paying Back your Canada Student Loan for more information.
  • If you cannot afford the monthly payment on your student loan, there are Repayment Assistance plans available. Visit Repayment Assistance for more information.

If you are a non-BC resident, you will need to apply for assistance through your home province.  Below are the links to the relevant website for each province and territory.  Please note that it is your responsibility to understand how your home province/territory's program works, so please read the information carefully.

Apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship program who meet the eligibility requirements for Canada Apprentice Loan (CAL) may receive up to $4000 in interest-free loans per period of technical training.

The purpose of the Canada Apprentice Loan is to provide apprentices registered in Red Seal trades with loans to assist with the costs of attending technical training.

The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a one-time taxable cash grant of $2,000 maximum available to registered apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship training and obtained their journey-person certification in a designated Red Seal trade on or after January 1, 2009.

Apprenticeship grants are provided to increase access to apprenticeships in the Red Seal trades by helping apprentices cover expenses such as the purchase of tools and other materials required for learning on-the-job and travel expenses associated with classroom training.

There are three types of training tax credits:

  • Basic credit for the first two levels of non-Red Seal training programs
  • Completion credit for level 3 or level 4 for both Red Seal and non-Red Seal training programs
  • Enhanced credit for First Nations individuals and persons with disabilities

The Apprentice Incentive Grant helps pay for expenses while you train as an apprentice in a designated Red Seal Trade. It is a taxable grant of $1,000. 

The Apprentice Incentive Grant for Women is a taxable grant of $3,000 that helps pay for expenses while you train as an apprentice in a designated Red Seal Trade where women are underrepresented.

Awards

Awards are funding that the student does NOT need to repay. 

OC Awards

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for the convenience of students only. While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and completeness, Okanagan College accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions in the information provided and no responsibility for the content of the linked, non-Okanagan College websites. Students should independently confirm competition details and closing dates by consulting the relevant websites directly.

Application Information

The Awards Guide is a list of all awards that are offered through Okanagan College. You can view and apply for awards through your myOkanagan account.

Aboriginal awards

For self-identified aboriginal students

Fall semester
March 1 to September 15

Winter semester
December 1 to February 15

Summer semester
March 1 to May 31

Entrance awards

For Students Entering their First Semester of Post-secondary Study at Okanagan College

High School entrance awards
October 1 to March 5 - All Campuses

Fall semester
March 1 to September 15 - All Campuses, Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon

Winter semester
December 1 to February 15 - All Campuses, Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon

Summer semester
March 1 to May 31 - All Campuses and Kelowna

Current and returning student awards

For students who have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study at Okanagan College

Fall semester
March 1 to August 31 - All Campuses, Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm
August 1 to September 30 - Okanagan College Tuition Bursary

Winter semester
December 1 to February 15 - All Campuses, Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon, Okanagan College Tuition Bursary

Completion awards

For students who have or will complete their studies at Okanagan College by June of the current year

Winter semester
Mar 1 to May 31

Trades completion awards

For trades students who completed their studies within the last 12 months

Trades Completion
February 1 to March 31

Study exchange awards

Okanagan College International Study Exchange Awards (up to 10 awards of $1,500 each) for students going on study exchange, activity and/or experience. 

Deadline:
Ongoing until all available funds are committed.

Derek Cook Memorial Award for Global Exchanges (One or more annual awards of $500 each)

Deadline:
May 31.

Okanagan College Global Education Mobility Grant for Domestic Students (One or more awards from $1,000 to $10,000 each)

Deadline:
Ongoing until all available funds are committed.

Exchange award applications must be submitted prior to going on exchange. Applications submitted after the exchange may not be considered. 

See the External Awards section for more information on exchange awards through other organizations.

Awards below require an interim transcript to be sent directly to the Financial Aid and Awards department before the awards deadline.  At least one reference letter from their school is also required.  Additional references from community/extracurricular/leadership involvement may also be beneficial.  Students will be expected to be enrolled in at least an 80% courseload (4 courses) or 100% courseload (5 courses) for the President’s Entrance Scholarship. 

The deadline to apply for these awards is March 5.

Okanagan College President’s Entrance Scholarships
Eight Awards of up to $5000

Okanagan College Community Spirit Awards
Up to 40 awards offered as a tuition credit up to $1000

Okanagan College Board of Governors Entrance Awards
Three or more awards of $1000

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship for Secondary School Graduates
Up to four awards of $2500 each for students graduating from a secondary school located in Penticton or Summerland

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Entrance Awards for Trades and Technology
Three awards of $2000 for students entering a trade or technology at the Penticton campus and have graduated from a secondary school located in Penticton or Summerland

Penticton Campus Arts Entrance Scholarship
One award of up to $1000

Penticton Campus Science Entrance Scholarship
One award of up to $1000

Johnstone Memorial Award
Two awards of $2400 for students entering the Salmon Arm Campus

Tony Sellar Leadership Entrance Scholarship
One award of approximately $800 for students entering the Vernon Campus

McGillivray Entrance Award for Business
One award of up to $5500 for student entering the Business Administration degree or diploma program at the Kelowna Campus

If you receive an award, we ask that you acknowledge the generosity of the donor(s) by writing a thank you letter. You can inform the donor of how their donation has made an impact on you, about your aspirations, activities and future plans.

To help students we have prepared a thank you letter template (Word Document). This is only a guide to help you compose your letter, your letter does not have to follow this format.

If you are a recipient of multiple awards, please write a letter for each donor contact (these details will be provided in your confirmation of award).

If you are attending an award presentation, please bring your Letter of Thanks with you.

External Awards

The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society supports post-secondary education by providing scholarships for students attending public post-secondary institutions. The Scholarship Society, in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, manages endowment funds and awards the return on investment to students through scholarship programs.

  • To apply to Okanagan College, download the application. Submit completed applications to Financial Aid & Awards, Student Services, Kelowna Campus, or your campus administration office. Email awards@okanagan.bc.ca if you have any questions.
  • Click here for more details on eligibility.
  • DEADLINE: September 30

DEADLINE: March 31, 2019

Other funding

Adult Upgrading Grant Eligibility

The Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG) is a provincial government grant that you don't have to pay back.

If you are eligible for AUG, you could receive money to help pay for tuition and fees, supplies, transportation, unsubsidized child care and technology.

Students enrolled in any of the following programs are eligible and encouraged to apply:

  • Upgrading, also known as Adult Basic Education (ABE)
  • Adult Special Education (ASE)
  • English Language (EL)

How to Apply for Funding

  1. Download the pdf application form below.
  2. Complete the form and email to upgradinggrants@okanagan.bc.ca
  3. If you do not have a printer, this is a fillable PDF form that allows you to fill out the form electronically. At this time, if you do not have digital signatures, we will still accept the application.  
  4. In the case where you have completed the application on paper but do not have a scanner, you may take pictures of the completed application form and send that instead. 
  5. Financial Awards will assess your application and will let you know if you qualify

    Due to the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak, you may be facing added financial stress due to loss of work, decrease in hours, or layoffs.

    Okanagan College MAY be able to provide you with funding to help pay for unexpected emergencies.  Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

    Please note that emergency funding is for current students who are registered in the Spring/Summer semester.  It is not a source of income and is not intended to provide students a monthly living allowance.  It is also not meant to pay for tuition.

    Procedures

    Complete the attached emergency funding application form. This is a fillable PDF form that can be completed electronically without a printer. 

    Please send the completed form to financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca. In the case where you have completed the application on paper but do not have a scanner, you may take pictures of the completed application form and send that instead.

    Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation are dedicated to supporting students who demonstrate a need for financial assistance to purchase technology required for online learning. Okanagan College has a limited amount of emergency funding to assist eligible students experiencing an unexpected financial hardship. 

    Okanagan College may be able to provide you with funding to help pay for these costs. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

    Please note that this funding is intended to support students who do not have access to or do not own and laptop/computer needed for their online education. As emergency bursary funds are limited, preference will be given to those students who demonstrate that they have exhausted all other sources of financial assistance, including government student assistance.

    Eligibility Criteria

    • Enrolled in a minimum of two classes, or in a full-time vocational program
    • Have exhausted all other sources of financial assistance
    • Require a laptop/computer for online learning
    • Do not own or have access to a laptop or computer
    • Demonstrate financial need

    If you feel you meet the criteria above, please book an appointment with Jennifer Harbor below.

    Book an appointment

    Students who are temporarily short on funds for reasons beyond their control may be eligible for a small, short-term emergency loan. Emergency loans may be considered for items essential to attendance at Okanagan College (e.g. books, supplies, rent, food).

    Please Note
    • Emergency loans are NOT given for payment of tuition and/or fees
    • Emergency loans are NOT given at the end of a term/study period as an “advance” on monies anticipated in the following study period
    • Emergency loans are NOT considered for students who are at the end of their study period
    Basic Requirements

    To be considered for an emergency loan, students:

    1. Must have paid their tuition and fees in full OR be approved for a government student loan. Emergency loans are not given for payment of tuition and/or fees;
    2. Must be fully registered and have started attending class;
    3. Must require an emergency loan due to circumstances beyond their control and have exhausted all other potential sources of assistance; and
    4. Must be prepared to provide an explanation as to why they are short of funds, what efforts have been made to secure other sources of funds, what expenses will be paid with the loan, and the method/source of repayment. Proof of repayment may be required if repayment will be from a source other than an expected government student loan and/or grant.
    Procedures
    1. Complete the attached emergency funding application form in full. If requesting an emergency loan for textbooks, you must attach a complete list of required books and prices, including HST. The bookstore will provide you with a printout.
    2. Make an appointment with a Financial Awards Assistant by contacting the Financial Aid & Awards department. Hours of operation are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Summer hours of operation are 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Telephone: (250) 862-5419 Toll-free (in BC): 1-800-767-5492
    3. Bring any relevant documentation to the interview regarding what type of expenses the loan is for and the source of repayment.
    4. If your request for an emergency loan is approved, a cheque will be available for pick-up at a predetermined time from the Student Services Office at the Kelowna Campus, or the campus administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm Campus. Photo ID is required to pick up the cheque.

    Okanagan College has a limited amount of emergency funding to assist eligible students experiencing an unexpected financial hardship. The funding is for students who are progressing in their program and demonstrate that they need financial assistance to complete their study period.

    As emergency bursary funds are limited, preference will be given to those students who demonstrate that they have exhausted all other sources of financial assistance, including government student assistance.

    The funding is for immediate living and educational expenses (except for paying tuition and fees).

    Eligibility Requirements

    To be considered for an emergency bursary, students must meet ALL of the following criteria:

    1. Be enrolled and attending an Okanagan College program;
    2. Be in good standing, attending class on a regular basis and progressing satisfactorily. Exceptional circumstances that prevent students from being in good standing or attending will be considered on a case by case basis.
    Procedures
    1. Complete the attached emergency funding application form in full
    2. Make an appointment with a Financial Awards Assistant by contacting Financial Aid & Awards.
      Hours of operation are 8:30am – 4:30pm.
      Summer hours of operation are 8:00am – 4:00pm.
      Telephone: (250) 862-5419, Toll-free (in BC): 1-800-767-5492
    3. Bring any relevant documentation to the interview which supports your request for an emergency bursary (e.g. copy of medical prescription, eviction notice, utility disconnection notice...etc.).
    4. If your request for an emergency bursary is approved, a cheque will be available for pick-up at a predetermined time from the Student Services Office at the Kelowna Campus, or the campus administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm Campus. Photo ID is required to pick up the cheque.

    Criteria

    The Aboriginal Emergency Assistance Fund has been established by the Ministry of Advanced Education to assist Aboriginal students in emergency situations causing unexpected financial hardships

    To be considered for the Aboriginal Emergency Assistance Fund, students must meet ALL of the following criteria:

    • Be an Aboriginal Student enrolled full-time or part-time in any program at Okanagan College;
    • Demonstrate financial need;
    • Be in good standing, attending class on a regular basis and progressing satisfactorily. Exceptional circumstances that prevent students from being in good standing or attending will be considered on a case by case basis

    Procedures

    1. Complete the attached emergency funding application form in full
    2. Contact the Aboriginal Transition Planner for your campus
    3. Provide any relevant documentation that supports your request for emergency assistance (e.g. copy of medical prescription, eviction notice, utility disconnection notice, etc.)
    4. Once reviewed by the committee, you will be notified by email of a decision

    Okanagan College Culinary and Pastry Arts students are launching an innovating new program designed to hone their skills while providing nutritious meals free of charge for fellow students who are struggling financially.

    Students can apply to request a meal by emailing: ocservesup@ocsu.ca

    Meals will be available daily to students in both online and in-person classes, and accessed via a voucher system managed by the OCSU Student Pantry.

    Youth in Care Tuition Waiver

    How do I apply for the tuition waiver?

    Complete the Former Youth in Care consent form and bring it in to any campus after you apply to a program at the College.

    Am I eligible for a tuition waiver?

    To be eligible for a waiver, you must have:

    • Been in foster care for at least two years. This includes youth who were on a Voluntary Care Agreement, a Special Needs Agreement, a Temporary Custody Order, or a Continuing Custody Order
    • OR, Lived with a family member (other than parent) or other adult for at least two years, as part of an agreement or custody order with the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency. This includes youth who lived with family or another adult on an Extended Family Plan, a Temporary Custody Order, or a Permanent,Transfer of Custody.
    • OR, Been on Youth Agreement for at least two years.

    In addition to meeting one of the above requirement, you must also be aged between 19 and 26 years old and attending a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia.

    If you meet the criteria above, then follow the "How do I apply for the tuition waiver" instructions above to apply.

    Are there any other funding programs for Former Youth in Care?

    The Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF) supports post-secondary education and training for former youth in care through bursaries of $5,500 per educational year, up to a maximum of four years, to help with tuition, books and fees.

    Under the Agreements with Young Adults program (AYA), youth who leave government care at 19 years of age are eligible for supports to cover living expenses while they finish high school, attend post-secondary training or complete a rehabilitation program.

    Visit agedout.com for more information of other funding opportunities for former youth in care.

    Youth Futures Education Fund

    The Youth Futures Education Fund has been established by the Vancouver Foundation to provide a grant to recipients of the Former Youth in Care Provincial Tuition Waiver, to assist with supplemental educational funding for expenses such as books, housing, utilities, or emergency situations.

    Criteria

    To be considered for the Youth Futures Education Fund, students must meet ALL of the following criteria:

    1. Be an Okanagan College student attending on a Youth in Care Provincial tuition waiver
    2. Enrolled full-time or part-time in any program at Okanagan College
    3. Demonstrate financial need
    4. Be in good standing, attending class on a regular basis and progressing satisfactorily. Exceptional circumstances that prevent students from being in good standing or attending will be considered on a case by case basis

    Procedures

    1. Download and complete application in full
    2. Contact the Financial Aid & Awards staff for your campus
    3. Provide any relevant documentation that supports your request for assistance (e.g. copy of book receipts, rent receipts, utility bills, etc.).
    4. Once reviewed by the committee, you will be notified by email of a decision.

    Contact Us

    Kelowna Campus:
    Student Services Building (S111)
    250-862-5419

    Vernon Campus:
    Administration Building (A300)
    250-545-7291

    Penticton Campus:
    Ashnola Building (PL142)
    250-492-4305

    Salmon Arm Campus:
    Main Building (SA103)
    250-832-2126

    Email

    Note: Be sure to include your full name and OC student ID #
    For general inquiries: financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca
    For award inquiries: awards@okanagan.bc.ca
    For upgrading inquiries: upgradinggrants@okanagan.bc.ca

    Book an appointment online through the online booking system below.

    Office Hours

    September to April (Monday-Friday): 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    May to August (Monday-Friday): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.