Newcomer Adults

As an adult, how can I obtain my high school diploma?
  • There are several ways to complete your secondary school diploma as an adult. School boards such as the Toronto District School Board offer secondary school courses leading to diploma credits. They also offer evening classes or distance education courses to accommodate working adults.

  • Independent Learning Centre also offers credit courses for adults. More information on this program is provided in the ILC Course Guide.

  • The General Education Development (GED) test – The GED test is an international secondary school equivalency examination program for adults. The GED was established in 1942 and is recognized throughout Canada and the United States. It covers what secondary school graduates are expected to know in mathematics, writing, science, literature, and the arts. Candidates who successfully complete the tests can earn the Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate. The GED tests are offered in English and French, and testing sites are located in Toronto, Mississauga, Sudbury, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and Windsor. For detailed information, visit the
    General Educational Development page of the Independent Learning Centre.
College & University (Post Secondary Education)
  • Canada has publicly funded and private institutions, that have authority to grant degrees, diplomas and other credentials by a provincial legislature. Provincial governments provide the majority of funding to their public post-secondary institutions, with the remainder of funding coming from tuition fees, the federal government and research grants. On average, tuition fees for domestic students cost between $4800-$8500 per academic year. Fees vary by institution, program and province. Private career colleges are overseen by legislative acts for each province.

  • The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities regulates private career colleges under the Private Career Colleges Act. It is important to make sure the private college you choose is approved and in good standing by the Superintendent of Private Career Colleges. Click here to search for a private career college that is in good standing.
How do I apply to college/ university?
  • Before you apply, find a program that interests you. Most colleges and universities have their own websites and online catalogues of courses that they offer. You may also want to see if that program offers any cooperative education or field placements. Co-operative education or Co-op, is a combination of classroom-based education with practical work experience.

  • Next, it is necessary to determine whether or not you have the required credentials to apply to that specific program. The type of credentials that you need vary by college/university and by program, so you’ll need to check with the institution about their criteria. You can usually find this information on their websites under the Admission Requirements section. Typically, colleges and universities accept high school education from other countries, but you may have to do a credential assessment. When you apply, the college/university will inform you of what additional documents they require from you.

  • Some institutions have different admission requirements for students who have been out of school for a period of time. Typically, if you are over 20 or 21 years of age, and have been out of school in the last 2 years, you may have to apply as a Mature Student. Be sure to read the section on Mature Students on the university’s website. You may have to do an English Language proficiency test or other admission tests, as a mature student.

  • In Ontario, you apply to college online, through the Ontario Colleges Application Services (OCAS) website. You will be able to choose up to 5 different programs when applying. The price for this online application remains the same if you choose to apply to less than 5 programs.

  • For universities, the online application is the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) or you can apply directly to the university.


If you need assistance applying to college or university, contact CUIAS
to schedule an appointment.
Where can I get financial help to pay for my education?
    The following financial aid options are available to domestic students only (Canadian citizens, permanent residents or protected persons/Convention refugees):

  • OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program): OSAP is the main source of financial aid for post-secondary students in Ontario. For information on OSAP, eligible institutions and how to apply, click here. Or, schedule an appointment with one of our counsellors at CUIAS for assistance with this application.

  • Universities and Colleges: Many universities and colleges offer scholarships and bursaries. Scholarships are usually based on academic achievement, but some also focus on community involvement or work in a specific field of study. Some scholarships are awarded automatically while others require an application.

  • Bursaries: are usually based on both financial need and academic achievement. Normally, bursaries are open to domestic students only.

  • Most colleges and universities have a financial aid office. An advisor from this office can help direct you to funding options.

  • Community Organizations: Some charities, foundations and private companies give out scholarships. Some examples are: The Canada Merit Awards, The Maytree Foundation, TD Canada Trust and RBC Royal Bank scholarships, among others.