Do you think everyone deserves access to higher education?

As Canada's Open University, we share your belief that anyone with a desire and commitment to learn should have an equal opportunity to do so.

Traditional universities don't work for many people. They require previous education achievement, being on-site for courses, and fitting your life around a university schedule.

At AU, we are committed to making quality education accessible and affordable. We welcome all students regardless of age, location, past education, or family and work circumstances. We provide the tools, instruction, and support they need to succeed academically and attain their educational dreams.

But when it comes down to it, the cost is a barrier for many students.

We don’t want the cost of a course to derail a student from achieving their goals—and we work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. AU provides more than $1.5 million annually to students in financial need through  scholarships, awards, and bursaries. Many of these student awards are funded by donors.

Your gift says yes!

As a donor, you’re there for AU students through the highs and the lows—from the just-in-time emergency bursary to achievement-based awards. Your gift means the difference between finishing their degree now or waiting a year to save up for course fees.

Your gift allows students time to focus on course content instead of juggling extra hours at work. It says, “I believe in you,” when things are hard and, “Congratulations, I knew you could do it,” when they meet their goals.

That's why your donation is so important. Donors are key to keeping students on track and removing a major barrier to academic success. Your gift today goes directly to a student who needs it right now, putting a better tomorrow within their reach.

Ways to give

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Why your gift matters

Read more about what your donation will do.

Students feel the pinch of rising costs

Due to inflation and changes to how universities are funded, today's post-secondary students pay more in tuition than previous generations. In Canada, annual tuition fees for full-time undergraduate students have tripled to $7,000 compared to about $2,000 in 1990. Tuition increases have outpaced inflation, making it even more challenging to make ends meet.

While a student in 1990 could pay for tuition by working 293 hours at a minimum wage job, today students must work almost double that time to cover the same bill. This means less time for their studies and other competing responsibilities and less room in their budget for other necessities.

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Students are bearing this burden. Nearly half of undergraduate degree holders graduate with $25,000 or more in debt (compared to an average debt of $7,000 in 1990).

And worse, students from low-income families are half as likely to even participate in university, citing “financial reasons” as the main barrier to pursuing a degree.

Education pays off

Even as the real cost of education rises, Canadians continue to pursue post-secondary education in record numbers. Participation in higher education increased by almost 15% since 2000.

For some, families provide financial help. Others take longer to complete their credential. And many more, including 44% at AU, rely on student loans to help make ends meet.

Why do students stretch to afford tuition? Because a university education pays off. The median university graduate makes 63% more than they would with only a high school diploma and enjoys higher job security.

In the long run, post-secondary education is worth it—and not just for the individuals working towards a brighter future for themselves and their families. Communities also benefit from university graduates' contributions of their skills and talents.

Your donation makes it possible

Donations are needed now more than ever. A little goes a long way with a growing community of donors who all believe that education should be accessible. Together, we can bridge the gap between available funding and students in need. Your gift today will go directly to a student who needs it right now, putting that better tomorrow within their reach.

AU's Charitable Registration Number: #10673 5830 RR0001

Updated July 04, 2024 by Digital & Web Operations, University Relations (