2016-17 Decanal Memoranda

Update on Travel Restrictions: Support for Grad Units


To:         Graduate Deans, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Administrators

Cc:         Graduate Associate Deans/Vice Deans, SGS Staff

From:      Locke Rowe, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education

Date:      June 29, 2017

As part of our ongoing monitoring of the status of US travel restrictions and their impact upon our current and prospective graduate students, we provide this update.

Travel restrictions introduced by the United States in January 2017 have, as of this week, been partially reinstated by the US Supreme Court. Most likely to be affected are new international applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who may not already have what the Supreme Court identifies as "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." Additional details can be found in the Court's unsigned statement.

In light of these developments, the School of Graduate Studies will continue to support graduate units in any or all of the following initiatives:

  • Waiving an application fee for new students applying from the six countries most directly affected by the travel restrictions (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen);
  • Extending your unit's International admission deadlines; and
  • Extending academic deadlines for current students impacted by such restrictions.

The SGS Admissions and International Student Advisor (sgs.international@utoronto.ca) and SGS Student Services will work closely with you and your unit to accommodate your requests. As previously communicated, we also encourage graduate administrators with students whose Final Oral Examinations may be impacted by students or examiners unable or unwilling to travel to contact the School of Graduate Studies Doctoral Exams Office (sgs.doctoral@utoronto.ca) so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Thank you in advance for your continued commitment to our graduate students and to promoting excellence in graduate education at the University of Toronto. We will update you as new information becomes available.

 

Base Funding and External Funding Sources

To:          Graduate Deans, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Administrators

Cc:         Graduate Associate Deans/Vice Deans, SGS Staff

From:      Locke Rowe, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education

Date:       April 18, 2017 

All students admitted to funded doctoral programs will be funded to the equivalent of the base funding of their graduate unit either by the graduate unit admitting them or by approved external funding or by a combination of both.

The University of Toronto recognizes that some students in funded doctoral programs will bring with them fellowships/scholarships from recognized external agencies. The following principles must apply:

1. All students admitted to funded doctoral programs must receive funding that is at least equivalent to the base funding package of that graduate unit.

2. For partial or complete funding from an external agency to be credited toward the base funding package, the funding agency must be recognized and approved by the School of Graduate Studies. If funding is to be provided by an agency that is not included in the funding sources on the SGS website, the graduate unit should consult with SGS prior to admitting the student.

3. The external agency must provide a written commitment specifying the amount and duration of the funding, and any conditions associated with the funding. This written commitment should be submitted to the graduate unit prior to admission.

4. If the external agency is the sole funding source, the fellowships/scholarships must be equal to or greater than the base funding package. If the external agency funding is less than the published base funding of the relevant graduate unit, the student's graduate unit or faculty remains responsible for the difference.

5. If the external agency providing the funding discontinues its funding prior to the full term of the award, the graduate unit remains responsible for providing the base funding to the student for the duration of the unit's normal funding commitment to its students. 

6. Self-funding by a student in the funded cohort from personal or family funds, either directly or indirectly, or from any other funds whose source is not a recognized funding agency approved by SGS, is not permitted and the graduate unit remains responsible for the full base funding of students admitted. 


Funding Letter Best Practices

To:       Graduate Deans, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Administrators

From:   Locke Rowe, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education

Date:    March 16, 2017 

In order to ensure that students understand their funding amounts, composition, and timing, graduate units should distribute an annual funding letter by early September. This letter would inform students about when and how they will be paid, and, where possible, would include a chart showing the monthly amounts and sources of funding. Both the supervisor and student should read, review, and sign the funding letter/chart.

In addition, the funding letter can be used to ensure that students understand rules and expectations around funding.

Funding Payment Principles

We also recommend that graduate units endeavour, where possible, to:

  • Ensure that students receive monthly payments that are consistent, net of tuition; and
  • Ensure that funds for tuition are aligned with tuition payment due dates.


Guidelines to Maintain Funding Eligibility

Graduate units should inform students about the terms and conditions of their funding eligibility so that students have a clear understanding of what is required to maintain their funding. Such requirements include maintaining full-time status and maintaining good academic standing.

Major External Scholarships

Graduate units should inform students about expectations and requirements regarding major external scholarships; for instance, offering program-level recommendations to apply for external awards, and disclosing which awards are paid directly to students. Units should also specify how external awards affect base funding packages.


Eliminating IVGS Application/Admission Fee

To: Graduate Deans, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Administrators

Cc: Graduate Associate Deans/Vice Deans, SGS Staff

From: Locke Rowe, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education

Date: March 6, 2017

As part of an ongoing effort to decrease barriers to internationalization, the School of Graduate Studies is, effective immediately, eliminating the $400 application and administration fee for the International Visiting Graduate Students (IVGS) Study Abroad Program. IVGS students will still be responsible for incidental and ancillary fees during their study period.

In eliminating the IVGS application/administration fee, we hope to encourage additional qualified international graduate students who are pursuing a graduate degree at their home university to undertake advanced Master's or Doctoral research at the University of Toronto for up to 3 sessions (normally a maximum of 12 months). To date, the contributions of International Visiting Graduate Scholars -- to our graduate students, our faculty, and to the research community here at U of T -- have been inestimable. Thank you for continuing to foster these relationships in your units and programs.

If you have any questions regarding this change, or are interested in initiating an IVGS agreement, our Admissions and International Student Advisor Rory McKeown will be pleased to assist you. Feel free to contact him at 416.978.7756 or sgs.international@utoronto.ca.


Travel Restrictions: Support for Grad Units

To: Graduate Deans, Graduate Chairs, and Graduate Administrators

Cc: Graduate Associate Deans/Vice Deans

From: Locke Rowe, Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education

Date: February 3, 2017


The recent travel restrictions introduced by the United States require a timely and flexible response to prospective and current graduate students who may be impacted by these developments.

Please be assured that the School of Graduate Studies will support graduate units in any or all of the following initiatives:

  • Waiving an application fee for new students applying from the seven countries most directly affected by the travel restrictions (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen);
  • Extending your unit's International admission deadlines; and
  • Extending academic deadlines for current students impacted by such restrictions.

The SGS Admissions and International Student Advisor (sgs.international@utoronto.ca) and SGS Student Services will work closely with you and your unit to accommodate your requests. As previously communicated, we also encourage graduate administrators with students whose Final Oral Examinations may be impacted by students or examiners unable or unwilling to travel to contact the School of Graduate Studies Doctoral Exams Office (sgs.doctoral@utoronto.ca) so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Thank you in advance for your continued commitment to our graduate students and to promoting excellence in graduate education at the University of Toronto.