The Student Workers Assistance Fund (SWAF) provides funding support to (A) students in the funded cohort (as defined by SGS) who receive less than $20,000 of funding a year (in addition to their funded tuition and fees) and (B) students not in the funded cohort who receive less than $15,000 of funding a year.

FAQ

Who is eligible to apply to the SWAF?

For the September 1, 2021-August 31, 2022 round of the SWAF, anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply in Group A

(a) You have secured at least 30 hours of Unit 1 work between September 1 and the time of application, 

(b) You were a graduate student in the funded cohort in the application  year. Students in the funded cohort receive at least $15,000 in funding a year from the University, in addition to having all of their tuition and fees covered by their funding package.

(c) You received less than $20,000 in funding in the application year (in addition to funded tuition and fees) .

Anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply in Group B:

(a) You have secured at least 30 hours of Unit 1 work between September 1 and the time of application, 

(b) You were a student in the 2021-22 academic year.

(c) You received less than $15,000 in funding (excluding T4 wages) in the application year OR you were unfunded in the application year.

Students in the funded cohort (Group A) include: full-time PhDs in years 1-4, full-time PhDs in year 5 who are still part of the funded cohort, full-time SJDs in years 1-3, MA and MScs in years 1-2 who are part of the funded cohort.

Students not in the funded cohort (Group B) include: undergraduate students, professional masters’, performance masters’, other non-research and unfunded masters’, post-funded students, never funded students, flex-time/part-time students.

How will SWAF work for me?
  • I am in Group A but I do not have a funding letter.

The funding letter is issued to bargaining-unit employees in the funded cohort between August 15 and September of each academic year.

If you were in a funded cohort and only became a bargaining-unit employee after September 30 of a given academic year, you should have received your funding letter no later than 30 calendar days after the start of your appointment. If after 30 days you still have not received the information about your funding, you can request a copy from your departmental administrator.

Your department owes you any information you request about income you’ve received from them. If your department refuses to provide a funding letter, please contact grievance.inquiries@cupe3902.org with the following info: 1) who you contacted in your department, 2) what you contacted them about, 3) and what their response was. If your department’s refusal to provide documentation is preventing you from submitting a completed SWAF application before the deadline, please submit the SWAF application with an upload of your attempts at correspondence in lieu of the documentation

  • I was not enrolled as a student for the full year (due to a leave, graduation, late start, etc.).

You are still eligible to receive a SWAF disbursement for whatever portion of the year you were enrolled. Your disbursement will be prorated. 

  • I will only have Unit 1 work after the deadline to apply for the SWAF has passed.

There will be a second round of the SWAF fund in June. You can apply during the second round. This will not affect the size of your disbursement.

What counts as funding?

For the purposes of the SWAF, funding is defined as follows: 

  • For Group A applicants, the T4A awards and T4 income that make up the “total funding” in your funding letter. 
  • For Group B applicants, T4A awards that you receive.

For each group, funding might be comprised of many kinds of awards and incomes, such as supervisor stipends, internal and external grants and awards (e.g., DCA, OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, etc.), other funding provided by your supervisor, your department, the university, the Canadian or other government, or other funding bodies, T4A RAships (for Groups A and B; i.e., all RAships in the Life and Physical Sciences and Engineering departments and some RAships in other departments), and T4 income included in the “base funding” in your funding letter (for Group A only; e.g., TA/RA/GA work, etc.).

Funding is not comprised of financial aid, reimbursables, and most work such as: OSAP loans/grants or other financial aid loans/grants, bursaries for students with disabilities, or university emergency grants (e.g., COVID-19 emergency funds); conference/travel/research grants; and T4 income not included in “base funding” (Group A only).

How much money will I get?
  • Group A

The fund will disburse the difference between your funding (see “What counts as funding?” above) and $20,000, up to a cap of $3,000.

Group A examples: If your funding is $18,500, you will receive $1,500.

If your funding is $16,500, you will receive $3,000.

  • Group B

The fund will disburse the difference between your funding (see “What counts as funding?” above) and $15,000, up to a cap of $3,000. In addition, if there are remaining monies in the SWAF once the $3,000 caps are met for both Groups (A and B), they will be disbursed to Group B applicants as a percentage of the remaining gap between their funding and $15,000.

Group B examples: If your funding is less than $12,000, you will receive $3,000 + a percentage of the remaining gap between your funding and $15,000 if there is remaining money is the SWAF.

If your funding is $12,000 or more, you will receive the full difference between your funding and $15,000.

When will I get my money?

Round 1 (Group A only): Applications will be open from January 1 to February 15. Applications will be processed after the closing date. Disbursements will follow in the Winter semester.

Round 2 (Groups A and B): Applications will be open from June 1 to 30. Applications will be processed after the closing date. Disbursements will follow in the Summer semester.

How do I apply?

When the application opens on January 1, the form will be available online and accessible through the Union’s website. To find the application, login to the Member Portal (found by scrolling up to the top right of this page).

A complete application for the SWAF will include: (a) the SWAF Application Form and (b) supporting documentation: your funding letter for the relevant academic year (Group A only), your ACORN account invoice and documentation for any funding (excluding T4 wages, OSAP Grants and any grants that explicitly reimburse expenses, e.g., travel, conference, research grants) not captured on your ACORN Invoice.

If you do not have a membership card (i.e., you do not have a CUPE No., found on the left-hand side of your Member Portal home page), fill out a Membership Application Form (also found on the ‘Forms’ tab of the Member Portal). PLEASE NOTE: processing membership applications can take up to four (4) business days. Failure to fill out a membership application in a timely way (i.e., less than five days before the deadline) is not grounds for submitting a late application.

Round 1 (Group A only): Applications will be accepted between January 1 and February 15, 2022.

Round 2 (Groups A and B): Applications will be accepted between June 1 and June 30, 2022.