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About APUF

The Access Programs University Fund (APUF), launched in 2019, has supported various access initiatives across the University of Toronto. The purpose of this fund is to provide financial resources to help local units develop new and/or enhance existing programs dedicated to providing opportunities and support for students who, without intervention, may not access or succeed in post-secondary education.  

Group of students working around a table using a laptop and writing on paper.

U of T’s Commitment to Access

The University of Toronto is committed to ensuring that students from communities that are underrepresented in universities see and experience U of T as a place where they can thrive. Increasing access to universities for underrepresented students requires universities to provide additional services and supports through access programs and other initiatives to remove barriers that prevent some students from entering university, participating, and being successful. 

The University of Toronto has a long tradition of engagement with access initiatives, primarily through programming offered at the local (e.g., faculty, campus, college) levels.

Currently, there are over 140 access and outreach programs and initiatives at the University that respond to the diverse needs of students and prospective students.  

How “Access Programs” is defined

The Access Strategy & Partnerships Office (ASPO) defines “Access Programs” as initiatives that provide students from traditionally underrepresented groups with supports, pathways, structured programs, and/or opportunities to continue learning at the post-secondary level. Access programs are designed to facilitate student progress and ensure that students have equitable opportunities to take full advantage of their education. Access programs are innovative, use evidence-based approaches, located at particular sites, and focused on working with specific students and communities.

Examples include student outreach; transition to university programs; bridging and access programs for adults with diverse education histories and who do not meet traditional admission requirements; and programs in professional faculties to expose youths from underrepresented communities to the various career paths in all fields. 

Access is also a service-based approach and orientation for planning and programming within university divisions, departments, learning approaches, technologies, and student services. 

APUF Priorities

The Access Programs University Funding (APUF) is a Provostial fund that directly supports the capacity of access programs at all three U of T campuses.

This grant is intended to provide opportunities for creating outreach opportunities and pathways to post-secondary education for underrepresented groups by either developing new projects or scaling existing programs. Initiatives should connect to at least two of the three Presidential Priorities (Appendix B).

APUF Initiative Goals

  • Expanding, replicating, adapting or scaling an existing program, including partnering with other U of T access programs (expanding community/school partners; increasing number of participants, etc.); 
  • Developing a new initiative/program that focuses on creating intentional pathways to post-secondary education;
  • Identifying new approaches and opportunities to learn;
  • Improving overall impact of a current program; 
  • Supporting relationship development across the university; including involvement of student groups;
  • Encouraging community partnerships, e.g., agencies, school boards, etc.
  • Fostering collaboration with divisional access and outreach offices and across the University to ensure strategic alignment with collective access goals.
  • Providing experiential learning for University of Toronto students through greater interaction with potential students through involvement with a wide range of diverse communities where underrepresented students come from. 

2023-25 APUF Review Committee