Ontario’s Learn and Stay Grant Offers Free Tuition for Some Healthcare Programs

Do you live in Ontario and plan on studying in Ontario? Did you know you could earn free tuition and other benefits, depending on your program, for your undergraduate or graduate degree? The Ontario government is encouraging students to study and work in the same region through the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant. This grant is fairly new, with its first crop of 3,000 recipients now in their first year.

Discover what it takes to earn the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant, how you can apply, and what this opportunity means for you:

What is the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant?

The Ontario Learn and Stay Grant provides funding for students studying in specific programs in certain Ontario communities. Through this grant, a student could receive free tuition, and the funding will also cover the cost of any compulsory fees, books, and other educational costs, like supplies or equipment, if they meet the eligibility requirements.

One requirement of this grant is you must work in the region where you studied to help relieve pressure on in-demand professions in these communities in Ontario.

Where and what must I study?

What will it take for you to receive the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant? You’ll need to pursue a diploma, bachelor, master’s or postgraduate degree in these three programs:

That’s not all! You must also study in a program located in either the north, east, or southwest regions in Ontario, where you’ll then stay to work in your field after graduation. Don’t worry if you’re coming from a different part of the province to study/work. As long as you’re an Ontarian, you could from anywhere in Ontario to study/work in one of the designated regions. For example, you could come from Toronto to study/work in Sudbury.

For a better idea of what this looks like, check out this chart of what regions each program are available in:

Program Region
Practical Nursing North, East, Southwest
Paramedic North
Medical Laboratory Technology/Science
North, Southwest
Bachelor or Bachelor of Science in Nursing North, East, Southwest
Master's Programs for Nursing North, East, Southwest
Postgraduate Programs for Nursing East, Southwest

Click here for a picture of the province broken down by region.

For a full list of eligible schools, programs, and exact locations, check out the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant page.

Am I eligible for the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant?

Check out the other requirements you’ll need to be eligible for this grant:

  • Successfully apply to and enrol in the first year of an eligible program in a certain community
  • Be an Ontario resident who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or protected person
  • Commit to fulfilling a service agreement and work in the same region where you studied after you graduate
  • Not be receiving funding from any of the following government programs:
    • The BEGIN Initiative: Bridging Educational Grant in Nursing
    • Better Jobs Ontario
    • Skills Development Fund

Don’t worry, you can also apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to help pay for other expenses, like your living costs. Receiving this grant can impact your OSAP appraisal, so when you submit your OSAP, assume you’ll receive the grant so that your estimate will be more accurate.

How to apply for the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant

You can either apply online through OSAP or download a paper application form (pdf) and submit it to your financial aid office at your school.

The application for the 2024-2025 school year will be available in Spring 2024, but if you’re already enrolled in an eligible program for the 2023-2024 school year and haven’t submitted your application yet, there’s still time! You can submit your application for the grant until 60 days before the end of your study period.

What happens after I graduate?

After you’ve completed your program in either Nursing, Paramedic, or Medical Laboratory Technician/Medical Laboratory Science in either the north, east, or southwest region of Ontario, then your next step is to work in the same region you studied.

You must work in your field in the same region that you studied for at least 180 days (six months) for every full year of study. So, if you completed a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing, and you received funding for all four years you studied, then you must work in that same region for 24 months (two years) after your graduation.

If you don’t complete the required work after your graduation, the grant then becomes a loan which you’ll need to repay.

So, if you’re planning on taking a program in Nursing, Paramedic, and Medical Laboratory, why not complete the rest of the requirements of the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant to earn free tuition and receive further funding for your additional educational costs?

Since this is a new grant, other additional programs could be added to the list later on. The goal is to respond to labour demands, which for now are these three big healthcare fields.

Learn more about the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant