Government Student Loans and Grants FAQ's

Application Process

I have just come to BC from another province (or country). can I apply for student aid through BC?

You are considered to be a B.C. resident when you have resided in BC for 12 continuous months (not including full-time post secondary study). International students are not eligible, unless you have dual citizenship and meet the residency requirements as set by StudentAidBC. You can apply for a student loan through the province in which you are a resident.

Where do I get an application for a student loan?

Register on StudentAidBC to gain access to the on-line application. 

How do I apply for Part-time Student Aid Funding?

Part-time application forms can be found on-line through the Form Library at StudentAidBC. It is a fillable form which is designed to be completed online and then printed, signed, and dated. Completed forms should be emailed to for processing.

What is the deadline for applying for government loans and grants?

You should always apply early, at least 6 to 8 weeks before your tuition is due/class begins. However, you can apply at any time up to 6 weeks before the end of the study period. 

What is a MSFAA?

The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) is a legal agreement between you, the Province in which you are considered a resident, and the Canada Student Loans Program about borrowing and repaying your student loans. 

Is there funding for the Upgrading and University Preparation program, Adult Basic Education (ABE) or English as a Second Language (ESL)?

Yes. The Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG) is funding from the provincial government that you do not pay back. BC residents who can demonstrate financial need can apply for the AUG to help cover required course costs such as fees and textbooks.

Qualifying for Government Student Loans

Can I attend two institutions (eg. VIU and TRU) at the same time and receive financial aid?

Yes. Attending more than one post-secondary school at the same time is called a “split enrollment.” You would apply for your student loan at the institution where the majority of your studies are being taken (home institution). A split enrollment must be approved by your home institution and will count for credit towards the student’s certificate, citation, diploma or degree at the home post-secondary institution.

I defaulted on a previous student loan. Am I eligible to apply for a new student loan?

It is possible, but only after you receive a letter of clearance from the Canada Student Loan Program (National Student Loans Service Centre) and/or the province where you arranged your student loan. Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514. This process often takes up to one year.

How many credits do I need to qualify for student loan funding?

You must have the following credits:

  • Full-time status - enrolled in a minimum of 9 credits per semester or 60% of a full time course load
  • Full-time disability status - enrolled in minimum 6 credits per semester
  • Part-time status - enrolled up to a maximum of 8 credits per semester (some programs may differ, check VIU website or contact Financial Aid and Awards to confirm). 

College prep or courses grade 12 or lower do not qualify. Audited courses and Prior Learning Assessments are not eligible.

Will repeating a course impact my funding?

Yes, it could. Repeated/duplicates of courses you have previously received credits for will not be part of the minimum 60% or 40% (students with a permanent disabilities) course load. You can submit an appeal to StudentAidBC requesting that the repeat course be considered for funding. Be aware that this process can take between 4 to 6 weeks and that there is no guarantee of approval. Please contact the VIU Financial Aid and Awards office.

When will I receive my student loan/grant? Will it come to me or to VIU?

Your student loan/grant funds are direct deposited to your bank account. Approved student loan/grant funds are typically released a minimum of 10 to 15 days after your 1st day of classes. Plan ahead.

Is there a lifetime maximum funding limit for student loans?

Yes, please contact the VIU Financial and Awards office for more information.

Paying Back Student Loans

Do I have to make payments on my student loans while I am in school?

No. Payments are not required until 6 months after you cease being a student.

What is Interest-Free Status and how do I apply for it?

While you are attending full-time studies you can be in “interest-free status”, meaning no interest is accumulated on your student loans and no payments are required during your study period. You must complete an interest-free application each term you wish to be considered for interest-free status and are not receiving new student loan funding.


  • Effective February 2019, BC student loan interest has been eliminated.
  • On November 1, 2019, the variable and fixed interest rates on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans will be reduced. The variable rate will be reduced to prime (from prime plus 2.5 percent) and the fixed rate will be reduced to prime plus 2 percent (from prime plus 5 percent).
  • On November 1, 2019, interest will no longer accrue on Canada Student Loans and on Canada Apprentice Loans during the six-month non-repayment period immediately following studies or the end of an apprenticeship.

There are two ways to place student loans into interest-free status:

  1. If you are approved for new student aid funding, you will automatically receive interest-free status on your previous student loans
  2. If you return to full-time studies and do not receive full-time funding (i.e. a full-time student loan), you must submit an electronic application through NSLSC On-Line Services.

Let the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) know you're still studying so that your loan repayment will be delayed until you finish, and remain interest free.

Other Sources of Funding

If I don't feel I will qualify for a Canada/BC Student loan, or if I have not been approved for a government student loan, are there other options available?

Yes. Most of Canada’s chartered banks offer lines of credit and special banking packages to Canadian students who have exhausted assistance possibilities through government and institutional sources. A co-signer is often required. Below you’ll find websites that offer a wealth of useful tips and information on student loans, bursaries, awards and scholarships. They’re well worth checking out, as you may discover a source of additional funds.