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1. Preamble

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) funding policy is grounded in the University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support (https://governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/secretariat/policies/student-financial-support-policy-april-30-1998) and the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) guidance on how funding works for research stream students (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards-funding/how-funding-works-research-stream/). Please explore the SGS website as it provides information about funding policies across the University of Toronto.

This policy, described in more detail below, is in effect for all full-time PhD students registered in the Four-Year PhD program, in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) for the 2022-2023 academic year. This policy is reviewed, and may be revised, on an annual basis.

2. Spirit of the Funding Policy

The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) in the DLSPH believes that participating in full-time Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) study should not be impeded by individual financial barriers. Accordingly, DLSPH commits to providing limited financial assistance to those students participating in the Four-Year PhD Program, who are registered as full-time students, and are unable to secure enough financial support to sum to a minimum funding threshold.

3. How Are the Minimum Funding Threshold and Funding Package Calculated?

Minimum Funding Threshold: The University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support states: “Support for doctoral-stream students should take into account the student’s own ability to contribute to the cost of his or her education”. The minimum funding threshold is the base amount of financial support students are expected to be able to contribute to the cost of their education through a combination of eligible T4A and T4 income.
Where:

  • T4A income is:
    • Fellowships
    • Scholarships and awards (e.g. SSHRC, CIHR, OGS, QEII, Connaught, or any other major grants/scholarships/fellowships)
    • Research stipend
    • Training stipend
  • T4 income is:
    • Research assistantship
    • Teaching assistantship

DLSPH has set limits on how much T4A and T4 income is used to estimate each student’s contribution and assess their financial situation. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the funding calculation comprises a minimum of $16,000 + tuition of T4A income + $2,500 of T4 income for a total of $26,554.28 (+ UHIP fees for international students).

These thresholds are only used to set the minimum funding threshold for this policy; it is expected that students will seek and secure more than these minimum amounts.

Funding Package: The Graduate Department Funding Declaration Form is used to collect information from each student about their eligible T4 (gross income) and T4A funding sources.  This information is used to assess and calculate each student’s individualized Funding Package.

The Graduate Department the determines if the Funding Package is less than or exceeds the minimum funding threshold. For those students whose acquired funding is less than the minimum funding threshold, the amount of financial assistance needed to reach the minimum funding threshold is added to the Funding Package in the form of the University of Toronto Fellowship.

Example Funding Package calculations based on different funding scenarios from 2022-23 are depicted here.

A student’s funding package may:

  • Look different from another student’s because of different T4 and T4A income sources.
  • Be reassessed and updated during the academic year if any funding changes occur (e.g., new fellowship awarded, leave of absence approved).
  • Vary in funding source composition from year to year as students progress through the because funding sources and amounts may change over time.

Student awards and funding opportunities are posted on the:

4. Information about Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions

Teaching Assistant positions administered by PHS are posted on the TA Opportunities page of the DLSPH website, the Human Resources & Equity/CUPE Local 3902 Unit 1 Job Postings website, on the 5th floor CUPE bulletin board, and are emailed to students via the PhD student mailing list.

Research Assistant positions advertised through PHS are posted on the DLSPH Professional Opportunities page. Students are also encouraged to talk with the Graduate Department and their supervisor about funding opportunities and research assistant positions.

5. What is the University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF)?

The University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF) is needs-based funding from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s core operating budget. The UTF is used to supplement (i.e. top-up) the funding packages of doctoral students who do not reach the minimum funding threshold. 

6. How is the UTF Supplement Calculated?

The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) will determine if a UTF supplement is required, and the amount, using data from the Funding Declaration form. The amount of UTF supplement allocated will be determined as the difference between the minimum funding threshold and the total financial support a student is able to secure in a given academic year. This information is summarized a Funding Letter sent to each student.

For example, if a student secures funding above the minimum funding threshold, they will not need a UTF supplement. If the funding a student secures is below the minimum funding threshold, a UTF supplement will be allocated to bring the student’s total funding package up to the minimum funding threshold level.

7. Roles and Responsibilities

Students: As indicated in the University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support, “Support for doctoral-stream students should take into account the student’s own ability to contribute to the cost of his or her education”. This means students are expected to seek and secure funds to financially support themselves during their academic studies.

Faculty: Faculty are expected to contribute to the financial well-being of our community of doctoral students, whenever possible, by providing stipends or research assistantships for work on grant funded research or, for instance, by covering student participation in conferences and manuscript publication costs not covered by the University of Toronto article processing charge agreements see: https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/copyright/apc-discounts. Faculty can prioritize the students they supervise but are not limited to supporting these students.

Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences: Based on information gathered in the Funding Declaration, the Graduate Department will assess each student’s individual funding situation and evaluate whether a student may be allocated a UTF supplement. Students will receive a Funding Letter, outlining their Funding Package for the upcoming academic year, by September 30th.

8. How Do I Know If I am Eligible for UTF Supplemental Funding?

Students maybe eligible for UTF supplemental funding if they are:

  • Registered Full-time in the Four-Year PhD program, as defined in the SGS policy (see Definitions below).
  • In academic years 1-4 of the PhD program. Note, funding is available to those fifth-year students who are in good academic standing and progressing well towards completion, demonstrated through submission of the 5th Year Timeline Form.
  • Maintaining good academic standing as described in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences Statement on Good Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress, completing the degree requirements and achieving the milestones as defined by the program.
  • Applying for competitive awards, RA positions and TA positions for which they are eligible.
  • Completing the annual Funding Declaration.
  • Below the minimum funding threshold.

9. What is the Schedule of Payments?

Review the Award Payment Schedule.

10. What Else Should I Know?

The minimum funding threshold in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, for PhD students in the funded cohort, for 2022-2023 is $26,554.28.

  • UTF is intended to support students in need, where need is defined as not reaching the minimum funding threshold after summing all eligible funding sources secured.
  • Students whose funding sources change during the year are required to notify the Graduate Department immediately at: [e.sokoloff@utoronto.ca]. This can be done by providing scholarship/award/employment documentation. A student’s funding package will be recalculated, adding or subtracting amounts based on the changes. This may change the amount of UTF a student will receive for a given academic year. Changes may result in returning UTF funds that have been dispersed in excess of the revised UTF amount.
  • Need-based awards (excluding UTF) up to $5,000 will not be included in the minimum funding threshold calculation.
  • Students who secure a fellowship, scholarship, award, and/or stipend will be given a 10% bonus, by the DLSPH, of the total funding obtained, up to a maximum total funding level of $30,000.
  • Students who hold major competitive awards, scholarships, or stipends equivalent to, or greater than, the minimum funding threshold are not expected to hold an RA or TA position. In this case, any income earned through T4 employment will be in addition to award, scholarship, or stipend.
  • T4 income can be secured from a variety of research and/or teaching assistant opportunities, many of which cannot be verified by the Graduate Department. Therefore, it is assumed that doctoral students will earn, through TA and/or RA employment, at least $2,500 in T4 income each year. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Graduate Department if they have not been successful in securing RA or TA income totaling $2,500. Students who do not apply for TA and/or RA employment or decline TA/RA positions offered will forfeit this portion of the funding package.
  • Students must be registered in PHS as full-time degree students for a minimum of 14 weeks in each term. Repayment of UTF funds is required if a student is registered in PHS for fewer than 14 weeks in any term or otherwise fails to maintain full-time status.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring that all tuition and incidental fees are paid before April 30th of each year.

11. Definitions

Competitive Awards: Applying for fellowships, scholarships and awards is a key part of scholarly activity. Honing this skill set prepares PHS students for the future and provides them a track record of success on their C.V.  These awards are generally prestigious, bring recognition and honour to both the student and the School, and provide evidence of excellence to future employers. Students are required to apply annually for competitive awards (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, OGS). Both the student and their supervisor will make every reasonable effort to obtain funding from competitive award sources and report those efforts on the annual Funding Declaration. Student awards and funding opportunities are posted on the:

SGS website: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards-funding/scholarships-awards/
DLSPH website: https://www.dlsph.utoronto.ca/students/current-students/

Full-time Status: Students who are registered as full-time in the School of Graduate Studies must be engaged in their studies on a full-time basis, as required by government regulations for full-time studies (see the SGS Calendar).

Students registered for full-time study should be aware that also being committed to outside employment can create a conflict of commitment. Full-time doctoral students should ensure sufficient time is devoted to the academic requirements of their program, in particular, full-time employment is usually not compatible with full time student status. Students who intend to continue to be engaged in full-time work activities should be registered as flexible-time status.

Flexible-Time Status: In PHS, the PhD is also offered as a flexible-time program. This option is for practicing professionals, who continue to be engaged in work activities (see the SGS calendar). Flexible-time students are not included in the funded cohort.

 T4A Income: T4A income includes scholarships, bursaries, awards, and stipends. These forms of income are not taxed at the source (ie, they will not be taxed by U of T). T4A income is reportable and provides the CRA with a self-submitted record of income earned outside of the typical employer-employee relationship.

T4 Income: T4 income includes research assistantships and teaching assistantships. These forms of income are taxable, regardless of student status.

Research Assistantships: RA positions advertised through PHS are posted on the DLSPH Professional Opportunities page. The maximum income contribution from research assistant (RA) sources is limited to $2,500 for the PHS minimum funding threshold calculation; meaning that any RA income earned over $2,500 is not included in the minimum funding threshold calculation, and can be considered bonus income for the student, above the minimum threshold.

Teaching Assistantships: TA income is included in the minimum funding threshold in accordance with the CUPE Local 3902, Unit 1, collective agreement. The maximum income contribution from teaching assistant (TA) sources is limited to $2,500 for the PHS minimum funding threshold calculation; meaning that any TA income earned over $2,500 is not included in the minimum funding threshold calculation, and can be considered bonus income for the student, above the minimum threshold.

TA positions administered by PHS are posted on the TA Opportunities page of the DLSPH website, the Human Resources & Equity/CUPE Local 3902 Unit 1 Job Postings website, on the 5th floor CUPE bulletin board, and emailed to students via the PhD student mailing list.