How do I plan my career?
As a youth with Crown ward status, discuss your career plans with your caseworker/social worker, or foster parent(s).
Speak to your teachers and guidance counselors. They've helped thousands of students make the transition from high school to postsecondary education and training.
The choose a career section of this site can help you discover how to find a career you love with a postsecondary education.
What education will I need?
The Find a School section of this site will help you if you're not sure which postsecondary institution you want to go to, or which program to take. Most schools have student services or career centres to help students with career planning, finding jobs, resume writing, and interview skills.
For information about apprenticeships, check out Employment Ontario.
How do I apply to an institution?
You can apply to university through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre.
Visit the private career college section of this site to learn more about how to enroll.
You have to pay a fee to apply to these institutions. As a Crown ward, you may be eligible to receive a refund on your application fee through the Ontario Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program.
How does apprenticeship work?
To become an apprentice, you must find an employer who is willing to hire and train you. People who want to become apprentices usually apply directly to an employer, union or local committee. Once you have secured employment, contact the local Government of Ontario apprenticeship office to register.
There are options for you to become an apprentice if you are:
- still in high school
- didn't graduate from high school
- planning to study at college while apprenticing
- already in the workforce and want to develop your skills for an apprenticeship.
Click here to explore pathways to apprenticeship.
Click here to get help from an Employment Ontario service provider in your area.
How do I pay for postsecondary education and training?
All students need to find a way of paying for tuition, books and other school expenses. As a youth with Crown ward status, you may have specific financial challenges, such as a lack of family support, or having support that ends before you've finished your studies.
(There are two major ways to obtain financial support: you can borrow, and you can apply for bursaries, grants and scholarships. Learn more about these ways of financing your education.)
How can I get OSAP?
In Ontario, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) offers a range of financial aid programs with lots of options to help you. This includes loans, which must be repaid, and bursaries, scholarships and grants which aren't repayable.
What do I need to know about OSAP for Crown wards?
The OSAP section and application form have specific information on options for Crown wards.
When you fill out your OSAP Application for Full-time Students, you're asked to select the choice that best describes your status. To make sure your costs are assessed correctly, read the statements in the "Current Status Information" section and choose the first one that you come to that describes your current situation. You can check only one statement. Select "I am a current Crown ward or I was a Crown ward at the time of my eighteenth birthday" only if none of the other options describe your status.
You should also indicate that you were a Crown ward, in the "Grants and Scholarships" section of the application.
If you have savings from the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent program, you are not required to report those savings as assets or income on your OSAP application.
If you receive Extended Care and Maintenance (ongoing support from a children's aid society), you'll have to report this income on your OSAP application.
Also, you'll need to report any bursaries or scholarships you receive from children's aid societies or foundations or other agencies.
You may ask to have up to $3,500 of eligible bursaries and scholarships exempted from your OSAP assessment. For more information on this exemption, contact the financial aid office of the institution you are applying to.
You may apply for an Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards in the "Grants and Scholarships" section of the OSAP application. This grant helps with tuition costs. Be sure to answer "yes" in the sections that asks if you were ever a Crown ward. Later, you'll be asked to submit a letter from your children's aid society, confirming you have or had Crown wardship status.
Are there other aid options in addition to OSAP?
Most universities and colleges offer their own bursaries, scholarships and other forms of assistance. For more information, visit the university or college website or get in touch with the financial aid office at the institution you plan to attend.
Another way to help pay for your education is to work part-time during your studies. The Ontario Work Study Plan helps students pay for their postsecondary education costs by working part-time during the year.
Many local children's aids societies offer bursaries and awards, as does the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.
For more information on scholarships, go to the Youth In Care website.
Also check out YouthCAN, the Ontario Youth Communication and Advocacy Network.
Apprentices may qualify for financial assistance for tools and training.
How do I budget for life while I'm at college or university?
Plan your budget even before you start your postsecondary education or training. Figure out how much you have to spend (be sure to refer to your Extended Care and Maintenance Agreement) and what you need to spend it on. Making a budget and sticking to it means you can make informed decisions – and that means, in the end, you achieve your goals.
A good place to learn about budgeting is Financing Your Education.
How do I find housing while taking postsecondary studies?
As a youth with Crown ward status, you may not have a family home to live in, so housing on or off campus may be of special concern to you.
There are options for living off-campus. Check with your university/college housing office.
To find housing on campus, go to the main website of the college or university you're planning to attend. Learn about applying for residence and what it costs to live there. Get tips on life in residence and living with roommates.
Keep in mind that many university and college residences are closed over the winter holiday period:
- Some institutions expect students to vacate their accommodations 24 hours after the student's last term exam.
- Some institutions allow students to stay on in residence and may charge an extra fee; others may not.
If you need accommodation during holiday periods, discuss this in advance with the Student Support/Housing Office at the university or college. Remember that there may be a deadline by which you must notify them that you want to stay in residence over the holidays.
Of course, you can also talk to your caseworker/social worker, foster parent or your local children's aid society to get help planning for holiday accommodation.
Getting health care and health insurance
Most colleges and universities have a health centre/clinic and counseling centres for students.
Your tuition and other fees pay for insurance for health and dental plans.
As a youth with Crown ward status, you may already have health insurance. Some universities and colleges allow students to opt out of their institution's plans, and will refund those fees. Usually there's a deadline by which you'd have to notify the school that you are choosing to opt out. Check with the institution you're attending.
Where can I learn more?
Youth Connect connects youth with services and resources to help get ahead.
The Ontario Youth Communication Advocacy Network (Youth CAN) provides support and resources to Ontario's youth in care, and the people who work with them.
The Youth in Care Canada (also known as the National Youth in Care Network) voices the opinions and concerns of youth in and from care, and promotes the improvement of services for them.
Canadian Child Welfare Services provides information on federal and provincial/territorial government programs that help young people continue their education.