Canada Millennium Scholarships Program

IMPORTANT: The Canada Millennium Scholarships Program was replaced by the Canada Student Grants Program starting in the 2009-2010 academic year. A transition grant was made available for eligible recipients of the Millennium Bursary to provide non-repayable funding for up to three additional years of undergraduate study. The federal government will also continue to provide funding for eligible recipients of the Millennium Excellence Award until 2013.

Canada Millennium Scholarships

The Government of Canada provides scholarships and bursaries through the Canada Millennium Scholarships Program (including the Millennium Bursary, Excellence Award and Access Bursary). Millennium Scholarships are distributed by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, which was created by the Government of Canada in 1998. The purpose of the awards is to lower financial and social barriers to postsecondary education and to encourage student achievement.

The Millennium Scholarship program is funded by the federal government through a $2.5 billion endowment to be distributed until 2009. As a result, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation provides approximately $325 million in need-based bursaries and merit scholarships each year.

Millennium Bursary Program

The largest component of the Millennium Scholarships program is the Millennium Bursary. An amount of about $285 million is allocated annually among the provinces and territories on a per capita basis. The bursary has an average value of $3,000 and is awarded on the basis of financial need to students who have completed 60% of a year of postsecondary studies.

Students who apply for financial assistance from their province or territory are automatically considered for the Millennium Bursary. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be enrolled as a full-time student in an eligible program at a Canadian postsecondary institution that is recognized by the Canada Student Loans Program;
  • be eligible for student financial assistance in your province or territory of residence; and
  • have successfully completed 60% of a year of postsecondary studies at the time the request for financial assistance is made.

Millennium Excellence Award Program

The Millennium Excellence Awards Program includes entrance awards and in-course awards distributed on the basis of merit without regard to financial need.

Entrance Awards

More than 1,000 of Millennium Excellence Awards are given each year to students beginning postsecondary education. The program offers three type of entrance awards: one-time "local awards" (the most common type) worth $4,000; renewable "provincial and territorial awards" with a total value of $16,000 over four years; and renewable "national awards" with a total value of $20,000 over four years.

The entrance awards are based on academic achievement, service to the community, capacity for leadership and interest in innovation. Application forms can be obtained at the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation website or at high schools, postsecondary institutions, volunteer centres, First Nations Friendship Centres and band councils. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or designated protected person;
  • be entering the first year of a full-time program of at least eight months duration (two years duration for national awards and provincial and territorial awards) leading to a first undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma; and
  • be enrolling at a Canadian postsecondary institution recognized your provincial or territorial student loan program.

In-Course Awards

In addition to entrance awards, the Millennium Excellence Award Program includes in-course awards for students currently enrolled in postsecondary institutions. The awards are based on merit and financial need is not a factor in the selection process. In-course awards are distributed to students who have not been previously received a substantial merit scholarship.

The program offers three types of in-course awards: up to 900 one-time awards worth $4,000; up to 200 awards of $4,000 that can be renewed for one additional year; and up to 100 awards of $5,000 that can be renewed for one additional year.

The entrance awards are based on academic achievement, service to the community, capacity for leadership and interest in innovation. Applications are submitted to postsecondary institutions, who select the candidates to be nominated for review by an independent assessment committee. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or designated protected person;
  • be enrolled in an recognized full-time program of at least two years duration leading to a first undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma at an eligible and approved Canadian postsecondary institution;
  • either: have completed the first year but not second year of a current program leading to a diploma or certificate; or have completed the second year but not third year of a current program leading to an associate bachelor or bachelor degree; or if a Québec CÉGEP student, have completed the first year but not second year of a current program leading to a DEC; or if a Québec university student with a DEC, have completed the first year but not second year of a current program leading to an associate bachelor or bachelor degree;
  • have a cumulative postsecondary school GPA of at least B+ or equivalent; and
  • have not previously received a substantial merit scholarship to support postsecondary education.

Millennium Access Bursaries

Millennium Access Bursaries were established in 2005 to assist students from low-income families and other under-represented groups. Approximately $50 million will be distributed by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation annually until the end of the 2008-2009 academic year.

Details of the bursary and eligibility criteria differ by province or territory. In most cases, you will be automatically considered for the Millennium Access Bursary when applying for support from your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office.