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Question for any past/current successful Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) award holders and 2013-14 applicants


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There is/was a restriction in place that said you could not work more than 10 hours a week while holding this award, which, if actually a strict rule, throws many wrenches into my plans for the fall. In your experience, was this enforced? Have any 2013-14 applicants heard anything about this restriction possibly being dropped since each school is basically now in charge of its own awards (if your school has stated they won't be upholding this condition, please state its name)? I'm hoping the conditions of the award are now up to each institution and that my (future) one decides to remove it!

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I had OGS this year, and in your contract of acceptance agreed not to work more than 10 hours of work per week. I never bothered trying to work more, so I don't know how well it was enforced. Before I had OGS I was told that I could not work more than 10 hours a week by my department as a condition of my stipend. I was told unofficially that if i had a job off campus that the school would have no way of knowing. As for OGS, it's a provincial award, and presumably your taxes would reflect if you held more positions / worked more, right?

Personally, I held a TA position that was contracted to be 10 hours a week, and the OGS + school top up is enough.

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I had an OGS in the second year of my MSc at Queen's in 2011-2012 (i.e. under the old system).


The reason for the hour limit is that if a grad student is meant to work, say, 40 hours per week, then the award (plus top-up, if any) is supposed to be paying for up to 30 hours per week (your prof may pay you an RA in addition to this as well), leaving you 10 hours per week to work as TA etc. 10 hours per week is actually the standard maximum TA load -- I know the Queen's Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates a maximum of 10 hours per week, on average (so you could double TA in one year, or do all your TAing in one week if it's a field course etc.) Other awards, since as NSERC has the same maximum.


I can think of at least two reasons why this limit is good.


1. The award is for you to do research. I am pretty sure there has to be a research component to your program to be eligible for the OGS. This limit prevents the department from forcing you to work too many TA hours. For my department, we also had a pretty generous minimum funding level, so since they could only give us a small number of TA hours per week, this means I got more "free money" (internal fellowships). If you want numbers, my contract was only 4.5 hours of TAing per week while non-scholarship students usually had 9 hours of TAing per week. Overall, a OGS student in the department got paid more money for doing less TA work. So it's a good thing if there is a minimum level.


2. The OGS isn't "free money", like I said above, you are expected to work for it through research. It's not fair for someone to win a competitive award and then spend most of their time working on a side project (whether it's a part time job or their own project/business, whatever). However, I think that if the side project (part time job, business, whatever) is on your own time, in addition to what you would have worked anyways, then it's none of OGS or your school's business and I wouldn't feel guilty about going over 10 hours a week. i.e. if you have something you really want to do, and you spend 40 hours a week being a grad student then 20 hours a week in evenings/weekends doing your own paid work, then that's all good. Just don't get caught, but as phalanges said, it's pretty hard to get caught! But if you choose to break the rules, just be aware that the consequences are pretty high and be sure that what you're doing is worth it!


To address your final point though, I doubt the 10 hours per week condition will be lifted. Also like phalanges said, the school might impose its own limits on outside work anyways. But if you are worried about this max # of hours messing up your TA plans, then don't worry, schools are used to this and will have a way around it. 10 hours per week for the entire duration of the award (i.e. 1 year) is actually 520 hours that can be allocated in any way one would like. Usually there is no TAing in the summer, so you could even TA / work 20 hours per week in one semester then 10 hours per week in another. 


If your program doesn't fund you well enough to live on TA + OGS then you can do things like tutor privately as well. My department was very encouraging of this and even hosted a list of grad student tutors on the department website. All of these hours are undocumented so it's one way to make a bit of extra income without worrying about going over 10 hours per week.

Edited by TakeruK
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Thank you both of you for your help! I received some surprising but welcome news a couple of days ago: OGS HAS in fact taken out the 10-hour restriction. I'm not sure if each school now makes this decision and mine has just decided to do so, but it makes me happy nevertheless since my program does not offer guaranteed funding or TAships; now I have more opportunity to work part-time elsewhere without them being turned off by the strict hour limit!

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