The George Coles Bursary
The Province of Prince Edward Island is dedicated to assisting students with the high cost of a post-secondary education. The George Coles Bursary (GCB) is a non-repayable bursary for Island students with post-secondary expenses like tuition, books, fees, living expenses, etc. This non-needs-based bursary is automatically awarded to eligible students who attend one of PEI’s publicly funded post-secondary institutions, which includes the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, Maritime Christian College, and Collège de l'Île.
Who is eligible for the George Coles Bursary?
To receive the George Coles Bursary, you must meet ALL of the following criteria:
- Must be a PEI resident.
We use the same definition as the Provincial Student Loan program - A student is considered a resident of PEI if the student (as an independent or married/common-law student) or the student’s family (as a dependent student) has most recently maintained a family home in PEI for at least 12 consecutive months prior to beginning the student’s post-secondary education. This applies even if a parent works in another province / territory. Or, a student can establish residency in PEI based on their spouse’s employment while they were married and chose to remain here to study after the relationship ended. (Please note – full-time students do not earn residency status while they are attending a PEI post-secondary institution.)
- Must be a Canadian citizen, or a Permanent resident [as defined by subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) or as a protected person as defined by subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada)], and have a valid Social Insurance Number;
- Must be enrolled in post-secondary education and working towards their first degree, diploma, or certificate at UPEI, Holland College, Maritime Christian College, or Collège de l'Île;
- Must be enrolled as a full-time student (nine semester hours or 20 hours of instruction per week) for a period of at least 24 continuous weeks; and
- Must not have previously received the George Coles Bursary for the same year as determined by their school’s year of standing.
Are there any limitations?
Previous Degree, Diploma, or Certificate
Students are not be eligible for the George Coles Bursary if they have received a previous degree, diploma, or certificate from any post-secondary institution.
If a student continues their education from one of PEI’s post-secondary institutions to another post-secondary institution through an articulation agreement or a non-traditional program stream, the student may be eligible to continue to receive the George Coles Bursary. Students should contact Student Financial Services for specific eligibility criteria related to their program of study.
Tuition Subsidy Programs
There are other government programs, which assist students by providing a tuition subsidy for their post-secondary education. If a student is receiving funding from any of these programs, they are not be eligible for the George Coles Bursary. These programs include:
- SkillsPEI’s Training PEI Program;
- Department of National Defense Paid Education Programs;
- Worker’s Compensation Benefit’s Re-educate Programs; or
- any other targeted government funding.
(Please note, SkillsPEI’s Career Connect program is not a tuition subsidy program. It allows students to collect Employment Insurance (EI) while attending a post-secondary institution. Students receiving EI are also eligible to receive the George Coles Bursary.)
How much is the George Coles Bursary?
As of April 1, 2022, the George Coles Bursary has increased. PEI Students attending UPEI and Maritime Christian College are eligible to receive $2,600 annually, the maximum payable is $10,400.
The annual amount of the George Coles Bursary for students attending Holland College or Collège de l'Île will vary based on their individual tuition cost:
|Tuition Cost||Year 1||Year 2||Total|
|Up to $6,599||$2,600||$2,600||$5,200|
|$6,600 and over||$3,600||$2,600||$6,200|
Student's Year of Standing to Correspond to Bursary Payment
The George Coles Bursary is divided into up to four yearly payments, and each payment corresponds with a student’s year of standing. The year of standing is determined by the student’s post-secondary institution based on their credits earned.
First year George Coles Bursary (GC1)
Second year George Coles Bursary (GC2)
Third year George Coles Bursary (GC3)
Fourth year George Coles Bursary (GC4)*
Students can only receive GC1, GC2, GC3, and GC4 once during their degree, diploma, or certificate. If you change PEI post-secondary institutions, your previous George Coles Bursary payments will be calculated towards your total maximum bursary.
*The GC4 can be paid over two years based on a student’s graduation date ($1,300 in their 4th year of standing and $1,300 when they graduate). Students should confirm their graduation date with their post-secondary institution to ensure they receive the appropriate payment and timing for GC4. Please note the total maximum payable remains unchanged.
A student may be in their third year of study at a post-secondary institution but based on their credits earned, they may only be in their 2nd year of standing. If they previously received GC2 while attending their second year of study, then they are not eligible to receive GC3 until they are in their 3rd year of standing.
If a student receives GC1 at UPEI and then switches to Holland College the following year and is listed as a 1st year student, then they will not receive the George Coles Bursary because they have already received GC1 at UPEI. They may be eligible to receive GC2 when their year of standing changes to a 2nd year student.
How do I apply for the George Coles Bursary?
Students do not need to apply for this bursary. Each year, Student Financial Services works directly with PEI’s public post-secondary institutions to determine each student’s eligibility. However, students are responsible to ensure the following information is correct on their post-secondary applications and student accounts:
- social insurance number (SIN);
- name of high school;
- high school graduation date;
- date of birth; and
- mailing address.
If any of this information is blank or incorrect, a student may not receive the George Coles Bursary automatically. If this occurs, a student will be required to complete a Missing Information form and submit the form to their school’s Registrar’s Office.
When will I receive the George Cole Bursary?
For students who begin their studies in the fall, they can expect to see the bursary credited to their school student account in their second semester before the end of February. Students who begin their post-secondary studies later in the academic year will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The bursary is sent directly to each student’s post-secondary institution, not to students. If the bursary results in a credit balance on a student’s account, then the student can choose to maintain the funds on their account for future tuition and fee payments, or they can request a refund.
What if I did not receive the George Coles Bursary?
There are a few reasons why students may not receive the George Coles Bursary automatically. Common reasons include:
- Missing information on their post-secondary application / student account;
- Gap year(s) between high school and post-secondary;
- Year of standing did not change;
- Did not apply to graduate.
If a student does not receive the bursary by the end of February, then they are responsible to contact their school’s Registrar office for more information. To provide additional information, students may submit a Missing Information form to their school’s Registrar’s Office before May 31 of their eligible year. The George Coles Bursary is not backdated for previous years.
Once all information is received and a decision is made, there may be a number of reasons why a student may not be eligible to receive the bursary. Some reasons include:
- Not a PEI resident. (International students or students from other provinces are not eligible.)
- Received a previous post-secondary degree, diploma, or certificate.
Students, who have received a decision and are not eligible, but feel they should be eligible, can complete an Appeal form and submit it to their school’s Registrar’s Office. Appeals will be reviewed, and students will be notified of a decision. The deadline for appeals is July 31 of their eligible year.
Who do I contact for information about the George Coles Bursary?
Student Financial Services
Department of Education & Lifelong Learning
PO Box 2000
176 Great George St, Suite 212
Telephone: (902) 368-4604