Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD)

The Bursary for Students with Disabilities program, which is funded through the provincial and federal governments, assists students with a permanent disability and financial need to meet their disability-related educational costs.

A "permanent disability" is defined by the Ministry as: "a functional limitation that is caused by physical or mental impairment that restricts a student’s ability to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at a postsecondary level or in the labour force, and that is expected to remain with the student for the student’s expected life".

Please note that York University separately offers Awards for Students with Disabilities.

Eligibility and Funding Amounts

Students must have applied and be eligible for some assistance through one of the following financial aid programs: full-time OSAP, Part-time Canada Student Loans and Grants, or the Ontario Special Bursary.

If the student has... Student has applied and is eligible for...* Eligible to apply for...
a permanent disability and 40%-100% course load F/T (OSAP) Canada Student Loan and/or Ontario Student Loan $10,000 maximum
a permanent disability and 20%-39% course load P/T Canada Student Loan and/or Grant $8,000 maximum
a temporary disability and 40%-100% course load F/T (OSAP) Canada Student Loan and/or Ontario Student Loan $2,000 maximum
a temporary disability and 20%-39% course load P/T Canada Student Loan and/or Grant $2,000 maximum
temporary or permanent disability Ontario Special Bursary (OSBP) $2,000 maximum

*F/T = full-time; P/T = part-time

Special Appeal for Full-time Students

If you applied through the full-time OSAP program, but did not receive any assistance because the calculated resources were higher than the allowable expenses, you may still qualify for BSWD support. Please see your disability counselor to discuss further.

When can the BSWD funds be used?

The bursary applies only to the specific academic session or term as indicated on the student's bursary application. Funds are approved only for the items or services that were approved by the disability counsellor on the bursary application.

You can find a list of disability-related educational expenses eligible under this bursary on the Government of Ontario's OSAP website.

Note: Any unused portion of the bursary must be repaid and cannot be carried forward to another term. The cheque should be made payable to York University and must be submitted to Student Financial Services.

Application Process

  1. Before applying for the BSWD, your financial aid application (for full-time OSAP, Part-time Canada Student Loans and Grants, or Ontario Special Bursary) must be completed.
  2. Once your financial aid application is completed, you can download the BSWD application from the Government of Ontario's OSAP website or pick it up at one of the on-campus disability centres.
  3. Complete the application with your disability counsellor who will identify the specific disability-related services or equipment to assist you.
  4. The application and any relevant documentation must be submitted to Student Financial Services for processing no later than 90 days before the end of the study period. For example, if the study period ends on April 30, the application and all relevant documentation must be submitted by January 30.
  5. Student Financial Services will review the application and make ensure that you are eligible and that funds can be released to you. Our office will check that you:
    • are progressing well through your program of studies;
    • have no outstanding disability bursary overpayment or OSAP overpayment;
    • have no outstanding bursary receipts from a previous session;
    • are not in default of previous OSAP programs;
    • are not submitting duplicate requests for equipment or services.
  6. It usually takes three to four weeks to process the application and request the cheque.
  7. Once completed, a decision letter will be mailed to you outlining the amount of the award and the timeline in which the cheque will be mailed.

Requirements to Receive your BSWD cheque

To receive your BSWD cheque in the mail you must:

  1. be a registered student in the course load that you applied for on the financial aid application),
  2. have picked-up your first OSAP Instalment and
  3. have started your classes.

Dropping Courses or Withdrawing from Studies

If you drop courses, change program, or withdraw from studies, your eligibility under the BSWD program will change. Do not continue to use any unused BSWD funds. Contact Student Financial Services immediately.

Submission of Receipts

Receipts for service providers must be submitted with the form below:

Any changes to the items on the BSWD/CSG application must be discussed with your disability counsellor.

For one time purchases such as equipment and software, receipts must be submitted no later than 30 days after the funding is received. Receipts for on-going expenses such as tutors, note-takers academic strategist/coach should be submitted as soon as services are provided. Please note that invoices, quotes and credit card statements are not acceptable proof of payment.

If receipts are not provided, the Ministry considers the student to have been overawarded, and the student will not be eligible for any further assistance under any OSAP program until receipts are submitted or the overpayment is repaid.

The Ministry requires that students submit receipts to Student Financial Services for paid disability-related educational expenses. Receipts submitted for services equipment and software that were not listed on the BSWD/CSG application cannot be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Bursary for Students with Disabilities and who is eligible?

This bursary is for full-time and part-time students with either permanent or temporary disabilities who have disability-related educational costs for services or equipment that are not covered by another agency or service, and are required for postsecondary participation.

You may be eligible if you have applied and have at least $1.00 of calculated financial need under one of the following financial aid programs:

  • Canada-Ontario Integrated Student Loan and grants through the OSAP Application for Full-time Studies (eligible for both provincial BSWD and federal CSG-PDSE)
  • Part-time Canada Student Loan and Grants (federal funding only)
  • Ontario Part-time Grants (provincial funding only)
  • Institution-Funded Special Bursary (provincial funding only)

Do I have to take the OSAP loans to be eligible for the bursary?

No. You are not required to claim the OSAP loans to be eligible for this bursary. Please inform Student Financial Services if you wish to cancel your OSAP.

Is there a limit on the amount of funds that I can receive from the BSWD each year?

The limit per academic year is $10,000. The bursary is made up of two government funding components: federal ($8,000) and provincial ($2,000).

Some expenses are only eligible under the provincial portion: discuss these with your counselor.

Can I apply every year?

Yes, if you apply for financial aid every year.

When will my application be processed and approximately how long will it take for me to receive confirmation of approval of my BSWD application?

If you meet all eligibility requirements and all supporting documentation is received, the application will take approximately 5-10 days to process.

When and how will I receive the BSWD funds?

Students will receive an acknowledgement letter via email detailing the amount approved for services/equipment. The cheque will be mailed to you by York’s Finance Department approximately 10 days after that acknowledgement letter is sent.

My parents/spouse medical plan covers some of my disability-related expenses; can I receive the unsupported amount from the BSWD?

Yes, it is possible to receive the unsupported funding through the bursary for expenses not covered by the medical plan. Please discuss this with your disability counselor during the application process.

How, when, and where do I submit receipts for BSWD expenditures?

You must provide receipts for your approved services and/or equipment as follows:

Equipment and/or software:

Must be provided no later than 30 days after you received your funding.

Ongoing expenses such as tutoring, counseling, and note-takers:

Must be provided on a monthly basis.

All receipts must include the following:

  • specify item or services
  • show the amount of the payment made in full
  • show the date when the full payment was made

Always keep a copy of the receipts for your records.

Submit all receipts to Student Financial Services.

I did not use the funds from the BSWD; how and where do I return the funds?

If you did not use all the funds provided on the approved items or services, submit a cheque or money order made payable to York University. The cheque must include your full name, student number and a notation that it is a BSWD repayment. You can mail the cheque to Student Financial Services.

I didn’t use all of the approved BSWD funds for specific equipment or services; can I use the unused BSWD funds for something else?

No, you cannot use the funds for any other purchases: funds must be used for approved services/equipment only.

Can I spend more on items than what was originally approved on my BSWD application?

Expenses that exceed the approved amounts, or purchases made that were not approved, are the student’s responsibility to pay.

Will I be penalized for using funds after I drop courses?

If your situation changes during the academic year (such as dropping courses, withdrawal, or income changes), it may affect the amount of BSWD funding that was issued to you.

Receipts dated after you dropped courses might not be accepted. Speak to your counselor to determine the best course of action.

Can I hire family members to be my paid tutor using BSWD funds?

No: ministry guidelines states that family members should not be hired for any approved services.

What are the repercussions for dropping to part time status?

Please contact Student Financial Services for any course load changes.

What can I do if I can't provide proper receipt(s)?

If you cannot provide receipts for equipment or services, then you will be responsible for the repayment of those expenses.

I didn't use all of the approved BSWD funds for tutoring for a specific course; can I use those funds for additional tutoring in another course?

No: the unused portion must be returned. You should see your disability counselor to review and submit another application for eligibility.

Does this bursary amount affect my OSAP award?


What is the deadline date to submit the BSWD application?

If your study period is: ...then submit your BSWD application by: ...and submit all BSWD receipts no later than:
September to April (fall/winter) February 28 April 30
September to December (fall term) October 15 December 22
January to April (winter term) February 28 April 30
May to August (summer session) May 31 August 15
Shorter summer term Three weeks before the end of you summer course End of your summer course