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, administrative fees, living expenses, etc. This non-needs-based bursary is automatically awarded to eligible students who attend PEI’s publicly funded post-secondary institutions, which are the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, and Collège de l'Île.

Who is eligible for the George Coles Bursary?

To receive the George Coles Bursary, students 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 (SIN);

  • Must be enrolled in post-secondary education and working towards their first degree, diploma, or certificate at UPEI, Holland 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 a post-secondary institution. The bursary is only awarded to students who are completing their first degree, diploma, or certificate.

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? 

PEI Students attending UPEI are eligible to receive $3,000 annually, the maximum payable is $12,000.

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 $3,000 $3,000 $6,000
$6,600 and over $4,000 $3,000 $7,000

Student's Year of Standing to Correspond to Bursary Payment

The George Coles Bursary is divided into up to four or five yearly payments, and each payment corresponds with a student’s year of standing at their school. The year of standing is determined by the student’s post-secondary institution based on their credits earned.

First year George Coles Bursary (GC1) - $3,000

Second year George Coles Bursary (GC2) - $3,000

Third year George Coles Bursary (GC3) - $3,000

Fourth year George Coles Bursary (GC4) - $1,500*
Graduating George Coles Bursary (GCG) - $1,500*

Students can only receive GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, and GCG once during their degree, diploma, or certificate. If they change PEI post-secondary institutions, then their previous George Coles Bursary payments will be calculated towards the total maximum bursary.


*The GC4 and GCG are typically paid in the same year. However, it will be paid over two years if a student's graduation date is delayed. Students should confirm their graduation date with their post-secondary institution to ensure they receive the appropriate payment and timing for GC4 & GCG. Please note the total maximum payable ($12,000) remains unchanged.


A student is in their third year of study at a post-secondary institution, but based on their credits earned, they have a 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 at Holland College.

A student completes 4 years of study, but needs 2 more credits in order to graduate. The student will receive GC4 in their 4th year of standing and they will receive GCG in the year they graduate.


How do I apply for the George Coles Bursary?

Students do not apply for this bursary. After enrollment at a PEI public post-secondary institution, schools automatically forward George Coles Bursary applications to our office. If a student does not receive the bursary automatically, then they are responsible to contact their school or our office to find out why.

Students can ensure they receive the bursary automatically by reviewing their post-secondary application and student account information. If any of the following information is missing, then the bursary will not be automatically awarded:

  • social insurance number (SIN);
  • name of high school;
  • high school or equivalent graduation date;
  • date of birth; and
  • mailing address.

If any of this information is blank or incorrect, students will be required to complete a Missing Information form and submit the form to their school’s Registrar’s Office or Student Services 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's student account shortly after their second semester begins. 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 to each student’s post-secondary institution, not directly to students. Students should check their student accounts in January and February to ensure they received the bursary.

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 fee payments, or they can request a refund.

For more details, please see our Timetable for Loans, Grants, & Bursaries.

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;
  • Not a PEI resident (International students or students from other provinces are not eligible);
  • Student has a previous degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • Did not apply to graduate.

If a student does not receive the bursary automatically by the end of February, then they are responsible to contact their school or our office for more information. The deadline for students to submit Missing Information forms is May 31 of their eligible year. The George Coles Bursary is not backdated for previous years.

Students, who have received a decision and are not eligible, but feel they should be eligible, may complete an Appeal form and submit it to their school’s Registrar’s Office or Student Services office. Appeals will be reviewed and students will be notified of a decision. The deadline for students to submit an Appeal form is June 30 of their eligible year.

Related Forms

George Coles Bursary Missing Information Form

George Coles Bursary Appeal Form

Who do I contact for information about the George Coles Bursary?

Student Financial Services

Mailing Address:
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N8

Office location:
176 Great George St, Suite 212
Charlottetown, PE

Telephone: (902) 368-4604

Published date: 
May 3, 2024
Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population

General Inquiries

Student Financial Services
176 Great George Street
2nd Floor, Atlantic Technology Centre
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-4640