How to Activate & Maintain Your Award

Click on the text accordions below to learn more about accepting, activating, maintaining, and managing your award.

How Do I Accept and Manage My Award?

The process to accept and manage your award may differ from award to award. Please see the individual award pages for award holder information.

Who Processes My Award?

Most Government-Funded award payments such as SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR Master’s, OGS, QEII-GSST, and other External and SGS Internal awards are processed by SGS and issued through ACORN.

If you received an award for which you applied directly, and the granting agency would like to issue payment through the University of Toronto, please connect them with the Graduate Awards Office (GAO) at SGS.  All awards that are strictly stipend / salary (no research allowance component) must be issued through ACORN.

University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF) payments are processed by your Faculty and/or graduate unit and, as such, each may have their own method of disbursing the funds, including the value and timing of each instalment paid through ACORN.

Students holding teaching or research assistantships are considered to be employees; accordingly, these funds must be processed through HRIS (Human Resources Information System) on a monthly basis.

Please check with the graduate administrator at your unit to determine whether your award is being managed by SGS or your graduate unit, and direct any inquiries or requests accordingly.

SGS Payment Policy

SGS-administered award payments are processed through ACORN at the beginning of each session:

  • Fall Session: September
  • Winter Session: January
  • Summer Session: May

These awards are issued to students through ACORN by instalment. Smaller awards (e.g. $5,000 CAD or less) are often issued in one instalment, while larger awards are normally set to pay out in three equal instalments at the start of each academic session.

Fall Session award payments (for both internal and external awards) are refunded directly to you. Fees are not deducted from your Fall instalment (except in the cases where there is no Canadian bank account or Canadian mailing address on ACORN).

Winter and Summer award instalments are posted to your fees account and automatically put towards tuition and / or any outstanding charges. Any remaining funds will be refunded to you.

  • Exception: If you are starting your program in January with a major award, your first instalment is normally refunded directly to you to help you with expenses associated with starting your program.
  • You may check the balance on your fees account on ACORN.

Please note that this payment schedule means you may not receive any award funds at the start of the Winter or Summer sessions if you have fees owing at the time. So we encourage you to budget accordingly.

Due to differences in timelines of award offers, processing, and when the University receives funds for recipients from the granting agencies, students who activate an award with a May 1st start date will likely experience a delay in the receipt of their first instalment.

  • Please review the award holder information section of the individual award pages for an estimated timeline for funds receipt.
  • Currently registered award recipients are eligible for an interest-free SGS Emergency Loan to cover cash flow problems while they wait to receive their first instalment.

Award funds can be received by either direct deposit or a mailed cheque to a Canadian address.

  • We strongly recommend that you set up direct deposit by logging into your ACORN account and adding your Canadian banking information.
  • Direct deposit will ensure that you receive your payment(s) quickly.
  • As well, cheques may be lost and need to be cancelled and replaced, which will result in a further delay of your payment.
  • Cheques to students with international mailing addresses will be held by the Office of Student Accounts and not mailed; please contact to inquire about payment options.

How to Set up Direct Deposit

To set up direct deposit with Canadian banking information on your ACORN account, follow the steps shown in the ACORN How-to guide, under the Finances navigation menu item.

Registering Without Payment

If you choose to Register Without Payment (Fee Deferral) for the upcoming academic year, winter and summer instalments will go to pay down ACORN account fees balance first. Please ensure you have read, understand and agree to the Register Without Payment conditions in the SGS Register Without Payment tab before choosing this option.

Most awards specify that the holder must be registered for an entire term in an eligible program / graduate unit t​​​​​o be eligible to receive and keep that session’s award instalment.

  • If you are going to be registered for less than the entire term, you should contact SGS to find out if you need to return all or a part of the award.
  • You should consult your graduate unit or Faculty for awards distributed by them, as policies vary.

Students who withdraw, transfer to part-time status, complete degree requirements, transfer to another program / graduate unit, or fail to complete the full session prior to the end of their award may be required to repay the funds already received for the incomplete session.

Please contact SGS to receive information regarding your specific award.

Register Without Payment

Students approved to register without payment are granted the opportunity to register without paying the Minimum Payment to Register amount (or fee) as indicated on their ACORN invoice.

  • This financial arrangement defers the required tuition payment until the student loan, award or other major source of funding is available and prevents normal service charges from accruing until April 30th.
  • Tuition is due when billed and any funds payable to students by the university may be first applied towards a students’ account.

Registering without payment of the Minimum Payment to Register amount shown on your ACORN invoice either through ACORN or using the SGS Register Without Payment Form is conditional upon all of the following:

  • You are receiving a major award, research stipend, teaching assistantship, and / or a funding package; and that the amount of this funding exceeds the Minimum Payment to Register amount on your ACORN invoice;
  • You are a full-time degree student in a graduate program and all necessary admission conditions have been met; and
  • All outstanding financial obligations from previous sessions have been paid.

A student is considered to be registered as soon as he or she has paid tuition and incidental fees, or has made appropriate arrangements to register without payment of the first tuition fee payment:

  • Students who defer fee payment acknowledge that they continue to be responsible for payment of all charges, including any service charges that may be assessed.
  • By virtue of being registered, a student agrees to abide by all academic and non-academic policies, rules, and regulations of the University and of his or her academic division, as set out in the divisional calendar, and to ensure that the accuracy of personal information such as the current mailing address, telephone number, and email address is maintained.

If you register without paying the Minimum Payment to Register amount on your ACORN invoice, you must abide by the following terms and conditions, and associated due dates:

  1. Make tuition fee payments throughout the academic year as you receive funds from your awards, departmental funding, supervisor, teaching assistantship, or other funding. Your fees are due when billed: the “deferral” only allows you to register without payment and prevent service charges from accruing.
  2. You are responsible for paying for fees on your ACORN invoice that have not already been automatically paid from award / financial support paid through ACORN.
  3. When planning fee payments, students receiving major awards should take into account that most January and May award instalments are credited directly to outstanding fees.
  4. Residence payments cannot be deferred (delayed). Your residence occupancy agreement lists the payment due dates.
  5. If your award, supervisor funding, or other funding is cancelled, you are still responsible for paying your fees, and must begin doing so as soon as you receive notification of cancellation.
  6. Full payment of Fall / Winter session fees is due by April 30th of each academic year. Otherwise, monthly service charges at a rate of 1.5% compounded monthly (19.56% per annum) will be applied against the outstanding student account balance beginning as of May 15th and as of the 15th of every month thereafter until the account is paid in full.
  7. If you have arrears, you will not be eligible to register for the Fall / Winter session.
  8. If you are assessed summer fees and do not make full payment of Summer session fees by August 31st, you will not be eligible to register for the Fall / Winter session.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you have a credit balance on your student account, you can request a refund of those funds by following the steps below.

  1. Check your ACORN account under the Finances navigation menu item to ensure that you have valid Canadian bank account information. If you need assistance in locating your bank account information, please visit the ACORN How-to guide.
  2. Update your Mailing Address on ACORN (in addition to your Permanent Mailing Address) in the Profiles & Settings section, under the Address tab (see last bullet below regarding international mailing addresses).
  3. Ensure the Valid Until dates for both your Canadian banking information and mailing address will remain active for at least one month from the Valid From date. Ideally, have your banking information valid until 2699 if you do not see any changes in the foreseeable future.
  4. Complete the University Registrar’s Office’s Request a Refund Form  
  5. NOTE: Refunds by cheque to international addresses may not be advisable or possible due to Canada Post or other mail delivery restrictions, and there may be challenges with cashing the cheque (as these funds can only be issued to you in Canadian dollars).

Once processed on ACORN, direct deposits take 2–3 business days to arrive at the bank. If the funds do not arrive in your bank account after a week, contact Student Accounts through University Registrar’s Office. Please note:

  1. Cheques may take up to three to four weeks to arrive by Canada Post to your Canadian “mailing address” as recorded on your ACORN account as of the day the cheque was printed.
  2. Cheques to students with international mailing addresses will be held by Student Accounts and not mailed.
  3. If you suspect that your cheque is lost in the mail or is being held by Student Accounts, please visit the Student Accounts website for instructions on how to complete the Stop Payment Form online, or contact Student Accounts through University Registrar’s Office.

UTFs provide financial support for graduate students with excellent academic standing. Normally, the award will be cancelled or reduced for those receiving other major scholarships. Alternatively, these students may receive a “top-up award”. The value of this award is determined by your department.

Students do not need to apply for UTFs since they are automatically considered for the Fellowship provided they apply for admission to the graduate unit before its deadline, and meet any other requirements imposed by the unit. Please note that some departments make the granting of a UTF contingent on your applying for external awards.

UTFs may be either paid directly to you or applied to your fees depending on how the payments are entered by your Faculty Office.

Contact your graduate unit for more details regarding UTFs.