The Top-up Fund increases funding for PhDs and MAs in the funded cohort (as defined by SGS) to $18,000, at a minimum, in the 2019-2020 academic year. Depending on the number of applicants and their over need, we may be able to raise this threshold. Please apply if your funding is less than $19,000.


Who is eligible to apply to the Top-up Fund?

For the 1 September 2019 – 31 August 2020 round of the Top-up Fund, anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply: (a) You have worked at least 1 hour of Unit 1 work by the end of the semester in which the application is made. (b) You were a graduate student in the funded cohort in the 2019-20 academic year. The funded cohort is defined as the group of students with a base funding package guaranteed by the U.ofT. School of Graduate Studies (S.G.S.). (c) You received less than $18,000 in funding (excluding T4 wages and any grants that explicitly reimburse expenses, e.g., travel grants) in the 2018-19 academic year.

Eligible groups of students include: full-time Ph.D.s. in years 1-4, full-time Ph.D.s in year 5 who are still part of the funded cohort, full-time S.J.D.s. in years 1-3, M.A. and M.Scs. in years 1-2 who are part of the funded cohort.

Ineligible groups of students include: D.M.A.s., professional masters’, performance masters’, or other non research-stream masters’, post-funded students, never funded students, flex-time students (i.e., not full-time). Please note these members are instead eligible for the T.A.F. or the U.S.A.F., depending on their funding.

How will the Top-up Fund work for me?

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 department 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 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 form before the deadline, please submit the form with an upload of your attempts at correspondence in lieu of the documentation.

If I received an external award (ie. SSHRC or OGS), does it count as funding?This really depends on the way your department handles external awards and how this impacts the other parts of your funding package.  External awards are T4A income and all T4A income is included in the Top Up calculation. So the straightforward answer is that external awards are counted as funding – depending on your department, they can either replace or add to your fellowship/stipend amount.

I received a: conference, research, and/or travel grant; a Bursary for Students With Disabilities; and/or a U. of T. (S.G.S.) emergency grant.
Grants that explicitly reimburse expenses are not counted as funding for the purposes of the Top-up Fund. 

I graduated!
You are still eligible to receive a Top-up Fund disbursement for whatever portion of the 2019-20 academic year you were enrolled.

I was not enrolled as a student for the full year (due to a leave, early graduation, late start, etc.).
You are still eligible to receive a Top-up Fund disbursement for whatever portion of the 2019-20 academic year you were enrolled. Your disbursement will be prorated. 

I will only have Unit 1 work after the deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 Top-Up Fund has passed.
There will be a second round of the Top-Up fund in July 2020. You can apply once this is open. The July 2020 round is for members who were not eligible in November 2019 because they did not secure bargaining unit work until January-June 2020.

What counts as total funding?

Total Funding is made up of all T4A income (excluding travel/conference/research grants) + any T4 income included in your funding (e.g.,CUPE 3902 work, CUPE 3907 work, USW 1998 work). Please note that any additional work you take on (e.g., an extra TAship) is not included in your total funding for the purposes of the Top Up Fund.

Your Total Funding is the amount we use to calculate your Total Net Funding (Total Funding – Tuition & fees). The Top Up Fund will top up your Total Net Funding to meet the threshold of $18,000. Please note that your Total Net Funding should be equal to or greater than your Department’s minimum funding. If this is not the case, the Top Up Fund will only cover the difference between the threshold and your department’s minimum funding.

T4A income (non-taxable):  UTF Stipend/Tuition, Program Level Fellowship, External and Internal grants, Departmental grants, RAship stipend.

T4 income (taxable):  Employment income from TAship, RAship, GAship, Casual work.

How total funding is calculated?

Your total funding is the sum of all funding sources (T4 + T4A) listed under your base package and above base package as shown below.  Note that the funding table below is drawn from the Faculty of Arts & Science’s funding template; other faculties’ tables may look different.How much money will I get?

The 2019-20 Top-up Fund has been allocated $1,065,000. The fund disburses the difference between the minimum base funding package guaranteed by the U. of T. S.G.S and a set funding top-up threshold. This year, the guaranteed threshold is $18,000. Members who received between $18,000 and $19,000 should still apply.

When will I get my money?

Application for this fund will be open from November 1 to January 17, 2020. Application will be processed after the closing date. We will contact you should we require more information from you. Disbursements will follow in the Winter semester.

How do I apply?

When the application opens on November 1, 2019, 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 2019-20 Top-up Fund will include: (a) the 2019-20 Top-up Fund Application Form and (b) supporting documentation—your funding letter for the 2019-20 academic year.

If you do not have (a) a membership card (i.e., you do not have a C.U.P.E. No., found on the left-hand side of the 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


Applications will be accepted between November 1 and January 17, 2020