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Eligibility & Evaluation Criteria

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Submissions will be accepted from University of Toronto faculty and staff with continuing appointments.  

The primary beneficiary of the proposal must be domestic or permanent resident status learners from Ontario who are underrepresented at universities and who might not access or thrive in post-secondary education without the provision of supports, pathways, structured programs and/or opportunities to continue learning at the post-secondary level. 

The Access Programs University Fund (APUF) operates through a two-step application process:  

  1. Consultation with the Access Strategy & Partnerships Office (ASPO) to discuss your proposal;  
  1. Submission of a full application package.   

To arrange a consultation with ASPO, please email: Please include “APUF Consultation” in the subject line of your email and preferred meeting date and time options for those who plan to attend.  

We request that you inform and discuss your proposed initiative with divisional leadership (e.g., Decanal, Principal, Chair, Director) and relevant access outreach and/or programming office(s) to ensure that they are aware of your plans to submit an application.

Please consider how your proposed initiative aligns with other access programs and/or activities within your division to ensure alignment with strategic and operational access goals in advance of scheduling a meeting.

Initiatives that are eligible for APUF funding will satisfy the following goals:

Primary goal

Projects must demonstrate impact on achieving the university’s goals as well as impact within the community by: 

  1. Increasing the reach of an existing, program or project 
  1. Replicating, expanding, or adapting a project with a track record of success 
  1. Building a new access program 

Secondary goal

Create greater collaboration and impact across access initiatives. Partnerships between existing programs are encouraged. Applicants are also encouraged to partner with U of T student organizations and/or involve current U of T students as part of their access project. Where possible, efforts should be made to record student involvement on the Co-curricular Record. Programs that include U of T student involvement will be given priority and would help a proposal to be funded. 

Note: APUF grant funds should be reserved for new and one-time new expansions to programs. Programs are expected to move to sustainability following the APUF funding period. APUF is not intended to continue funding “established” programs.

Previously APUF funded programs can be viewed here.

As a condition of funding, project leads are asked to submit an interim or final status report annually to ASPO. A reminder will be sent prior to the due date. Reporting timeline: 

  • One year of funding – Final report due: September 30 of the following year 
  • Two years of funding – Interim report due: September 30 of the following year; final report due: September 30 of the subsequent year.

Note: Variances to the reporting deadlines will be considered based on circumstances. Please contact ASPO at 

Evaluation Criteria

The APUF Review Committee is comprised of senior faculty and staff who have significant experience in implementing and evaluating access initiatives.

Priority AdvancementSupports the advancement of APUF goals through alignment with at least one APUF priority: Initiatives should connect to at least two of the three Presidential Priorities (Appendix B)
Connection to Access to Post-Secondary EducationThe initiative responds to goals related to access to post-secondary education in the short (0-2 years), medium (2-4 years), or long-term (5 years or more).
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)The proposal addresses Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) goals to further divisional access goals. A critical equity lens and access or equity theoretical framework is employed in planning and implementing the initiative.

The proposed initiative shows an understanding of who the participants are, their unique contexts, needs and potential barriers to full participation. The initiative aims to support learners before and after the program is completed and tries to sustain a connection with participants after the program ends.
CollaborationThe initiative involves more than one person and / or unit and / or brings together a broader cross-section of stakeholders. The initiative references and responds to strategic access priorities within a unit, faculty or division.
Connection to Scholarly LiteratureThe initiative situates the project within the relevant literature and provides a clear conceptual framework based on and grounded through relevant literature. 
Involvement of a Student GroupThe initiative partners with U of T student organizations and/or involves current U of T students as part of their access project. Where possible, efforts should be made to record student involvement on the Co-curricular Record. 
Assessment & Evaluation The initiative has outlined a clear assessment and evaluation mechanism. The assessment methodology should demonstrate a well-defined relationship between project outcomes, activities and the selected assessment tools.  
Scalability The initiative’s idea or concept is scalable within the division or to other units. The proposal clearly and specifically articulates how the project has the potential to be used by other units and / or have wide application within a division. 
Budget The proposal clearly presents a budget that is appropriately aligned with the initiative and articulates a strong justification for each expense. Yearly expenses continue to build off existing and created resources.
Sustainability & Feasibility The initiative has clear and specific potential for long-term sustainability beyond the APUF funding period. The initiative identifies planned deliverables based on specific timelines and resources.