As a student with a disability, you have access to many funding options you may not even be aware of from your school and the government.
Most Canadian universities and colleges have a department dedicated to assisting those with disabilities. They touch upon everything from mobility issues along with impairments that include vision, mobility, hearing, medical, and learning.
“York provides an institution-funded special bursary for students with disabilities who are enrolled in one or two courses,” says Marc Wilchesky Executive Director of Counselling & Disability Services. “There also are some private donor-funded financial awards that are available to students with particular types of disabilities.”
As a student, all you have to do is make the effort and gather more information from your school’s counselling and disabilities services. In most cases, students with a disability are even assigned a counsellor. Talking to a director, like Wilchesky, will be more than happy to help out and even provide assistance in educating in funding. This can be great asset to have.
The Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD) and Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities (CSG-PDSE) are the primary bursaries available to students with disabilities.
“Provided that students qualify for financial assistance according to the criteria established by OSAP, students with disabilities are eligible for up to $10,000 annually to fund the cost of disability-related educational expenses.” He sheds even greater light on more funding available to students with disabilities adding, “The BSWD and CSG-PDSE are available to all students with disabilities regardless of the type of disability.”
Nationally, post-secondary schools are making a greater effort to be more accessible and open to students. Regardless of your disability, schools are making this initiative a priority to accommodate all. “York [University] has a long tradition of working to reduce both physical and attitudinal barriers to learning,” says Wilchesky. “We have a President's Advisory Committee on accessibility called "Enable York" whose primary purpose is to monitor accessibility issues and to make recommendations for improvement.” Furthermore, York University is only one of many schools that works with the Ontario government.
Wilchesky adds, “The university has developed an accessibility plan consistent with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and constantly monitors its progress in improving accessibility.”
At the end of the day, funding is available for those with disabilities and it’s recommended that if you are a student with a disability, you research your options. There are plenty of resources that you can tap into.