Unclaimed scholarships in Canada represent a huge untapped well of funds for students who want to attend university in Canada. From free scholarships in Canada to the smallest, $100 prizes, there are thousands of scholarships up for grabs that aren’t being awarded. For those who want to know , there are many unclaimed scholarships specifically for international students, too. In this blog, we’ll look at what exactly are unclaimed scholarships in Canada, what are some examples of unclaimed scholarships and how you can find them to help fund your education!
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Unclaimed scholarships in Canada are scholarships and awards that do not receive any applications or go unawarded. Usually, unclaimed scholarships simply roll over into the following year to be claimed by a winning student. However, there are thousands of scholarships in Canada that remain unclaimed. Why? Because students don’t apply for them.
According to Scholarships Canada, over $20 million in scholarship money has gone unclaimed in recent years. In the past few years, around 3% of the scholarships listed by Scholarships Canada went unclaimed or had zero applicants. That’s thousands of scholarships that had NO applicants at all!
So, why do these unclaimed scholarships in Canada remain up for grabs? Why aren’t students applying for them? There’s a lot of money left on the table that could go towards post-secondary education. Well, there are many reasons why scholarships in Canada might go unclaimed, and the reasons might surprise you.
Why do scholarships in Canada go unclaimed?
The main reason why scholarships in Canada go unclaimed is because of a low rate of application—or no applicants at all. Here’s a few reasons why scholarships are going unclaimed and why students don’t seem to want to apply for them:
- Some scholarships aren’t advertised well – One issue with lesser known or small scholarships is that they aren’t advertised as well. Students don’t know about them so they don’t apply. Everyone is applying to the big, national scholarships or easy scholarships in Canada.
- Students don’t think they qualify – Many students don’t apply for scholarships because they think they need a stellar academic record, or they just don’t qualify. Plenty of students think they haven’t “done enough” or are accomplished enough to win a scholarship.
- Some scholarships have niche eligibility – There are plenty of huge scholarships out there that are open to everyone. But some smaller scholarships and awards have very niche eligibility based on your location, field of study, interests and experiences.
- Students don’t apply for small scholarships – Everyone wants the $10,000 scholarship over the $500 one, so many of the small or micro scholarships go unnoticed and unclaimed in favor of the grand prizes.
While these might seem like valid reasons to avoid applying for scholarships, the truth is that there are thousands of scholarship opportunities in Canada, especially for students who aren’t afraid to put in a little work to find those smaller, lucrative prizes.
The number of unclaimed scholarships in Canada can vary from year to year, but there are plenty of places to look for unmined opportunities. Here’s a few suggestions on lesser-known or smaller scholarships you can look into. The amounts might not be in the $10,000 range, but every little bit helps!
Here are a few unclaimed scholarships in Canada you should consider applying for, including some scholarships in Canada for international students!
- – Various prizes
- Electro Federation of Canada Scholarships - $1,000; open to all students
- – International students applying to
- – International students applying to
- – international and US students applying to Carleton University; unlimited awards
- – for all students outside Quebec; must have 75% average minimum
- AIA Arthur Paulin Automotive Aftermarket Scholarship Award – for students interested in the automotive industry
- – for all students involved in humanitarian or charitable work
- – $750; Alberta students only
- Randolph E. Cox Scholarship – $4,000; must be enrolled in a Bachelor of Science program
- Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Scholarships – $1,000; students applying to arts programs
- Prince Edward Scholarship of the Province of Nova Scotia – Nova Scotian undergraduates in their final year of study
- Smart Serve Ontario Scholarships – $2,000; students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree
- NOVA Scholarships for Women and Aboriginal Students in Business – Nova Scotian undergraduates only
- – New Brunswick high school students
- Maureen Forrester Quebec Musicians’ Guild Scholarship – Awarded to students studying music
Quirky and Weird Canadian Scholarships
Here are some quirky or weird Canadian scholarships:
- - $1,000
- – $600
- – $1,000
- – $1,000
- – $1,500
- – $500-1,000; for Manitoba students studying transportation.
Canadian Scholarships with Niche Eligibility
Here’s a few niche eligibility scholarships to check out:
- – Nunavut post-secondary students
- – UBC students only
- – for students who have experienced the death of parent or guardian
- – $4,500; for women in STEM
- Telus Innovation Scholarship – Residents of Northern British Columbia
- David Hoy Annual Scholarship – British Columbia students studying Forestry
- Tourism Saskatchewan Scholarship – Tourism students in Saskatchewan only
- Yukon Energy Scholarship – Yukon students pursuing a career in energy sector
- Jean Murray – Moray Sinclair Theatre Scholarships – Manitoba students studying theatre
Canadian Scholarships for Graduate Students
Here are some scholarships in Canada specifically for graduate students:
- – Graduate students in BC or Quebec studying animal ecology
- – Graduate students only
- – Registered Nurses only; preference given to graduates of General Hospital School of Nursing, St. John's, NL
- Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island Award – Awarded to veterinary students in their third or fourth year of study
As we can see, there are many unclaimed scholarships in Canada up for grabs and many smaller or unknown scholarships that don’t receive enough applications. There are some major benefits to applying for these scholarships, though they offer smaller amounts or have very specific eligibility criteria. It’s important to search for and apply to all scholarships you might be eligible for!
Here are some of the benefits to applying for unclaimed scholarships in Canada:
Finding unclaimed scholarships in Canada can be tough, since it takes a bit of research and work to find the possibilities. You can start your search by casting your net wide and narrowing the possibilities based on your experiences, field of study, interests and geographical location. Some scholarships even have language-specific requirements, so if you speak more than one language, this is an asset when it comes to applying for scholarships.
Where can you look for unclaimed scholarships in Canada? There are the obvious choices like government websites, financial aid offices and scholarship search engines. Scholarship websites like Scholarships Canada or allow you to search the scholarship database based on your field of study, interests and location, which can help you weed through the big scholarships to those smaller, unnoticed ones. But, there are a few other places you can look too.
Where to look for unclaimed scholarships
#1 Professional associations and organizations
Many professional associations and organizations offer scholarships for students pursuing specific fields of study or career paths. Check the websites of relevant associations in your field of interest to see if they offer any scholarships.
#2 Local community organizations or businesses
Ask businesses or prominent organizations in your local community if they have any scholarship programs or student grant programs. Many organizations offer awards to high school and university students, regardless of their size. Check with rotary clubs, community foundations or 4-H clubs!
#3 Clubs or religious groups
Some community service clubs, sports organizations or religious groups may offer scholarships to students who meet certain criteria or demonstrate the organization’s values. Check out organizations in your community or province who might offer smaller, unclaimed scholarships.
#4 Employers and unions
If you’re employed, your employer might have educational grants or scholarships for eligible employees.
#5 Banking institutions
Many banks in Canada, big and small, have scholarship programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Ask at the bank where you or your parents frequent about unclaimed scholarship opportunities.
More ways to find unclaimed scholarships
There are some personal circumstances or qualities that can help you get unclaimed scholarships, too. These are mostly due to specific criteria, like the following:
Some scholarships are only open to applicants of specific ethnicities or cultural backgrounds. This is to help encourage diversity in higher education, to grant access to education to minorities and other groups who may have less financial help than others.
#2 Military association
If your family has a military association, i.e. one of your family members is in the military or you have military service, there are tons of unclaimed scholarship opportunities for you. Canada’s military has scholarships specifically for members who are still serving, veterans and family members who want to attend university.
If you have a disability, or you are a caretaker for a family member or someone else with a disability, you might be eligible for a scholarship. There are many scholarships out there specifically to help students with disabilities get funds for accessibility, school supplies and more.
#4 Heritage or religious affiliation
Religious and cultural organizations may award scholarships to exemplary students based on their membership in a group or organization. If you’re a member of any heritage associations, religious groups or are planning to pursue any kind of cultural studies, this is a great place to look for scholarships!
#5 Special circumstances or hardships (medical, family, financial)
Students who have experienced some significant hardships or barriers to their education are eligible for certain types of scholarships that go beyond financial aid merit. These scholarships specifically want to help students who have overcome a difficult situation or have experienced a setback in their education or career.
Unclaimed scholarships in Canada are typically the small, unknown and ignored scholarships. Although they are usually overlooked, they represent a significant opportunity to earn some easy prizes to cover your post-secondary education.
1. What are unclaimed scholarships?
Unclaimed scholarships in Canada are essentially scholarships and awards that aren’t awarded because no students apply for them. Usually, the unclaimed amounts are rolled over into the following application year.
2. How many scholarships in Canada go unclaimed?
In recent years, Scholarships Canada has estimated that between $10-20 million in scholarship money goes unclaimed. Scholarships Canada estimated that around 3% of its thousands of scholarships receive zero applications.
3. Is it worth applying to unclaimed scholarships in Canada?
Absolutely. Unclaimed scholarships are usually scholarships offering small prizes, have niche eligibility criteria or sometimes extensive application processes. For these reasons, many students choose not to apply, meaning the competition for these unclaimed scholarships is quite low.
4. How do I find unclaimed scholarships in Canada?
Aside from checking scholarship database websites and government or organizational websites, check out businesses, clubs, organizations and groups in your local and regional community. You can also check with banking institutions in Canada and professional associations related to your field of study.
5. Are scholarships hard to get in Canada?
It depends on the scholarship and the eligibility criteria, but some scholarships in Canada can be extremely competitive and receive thousands of applicants.
6. What is the best way to get scholarships in Canada?
Applying to unclaimed scholarships in Canada is one of the best and easiest ways to get some funding for your education. These scholarships tend to have less competition, and will usually have shorter application forms, saving you some time.
7. Is there an age limit for scholarships in Canada?
Mature students are in luck! There are many unclaimed scholarships that are only open to mature students, and many more which accept applicants of any age. There are few scholarships with a hard age limit, as most have an age minimum requirement.
8. Can I get a scholarship with a low GPA in Canada?
Yes. Many students worry their grades aren’t good enough to earn a scholarship, but many unclaimed scholarships in Canada don’t even ask for an academic record or have a hard requirement for grades.