How to Apply
When you apply and qualify for student financial assistance, you are automatically assessed for Canada Student Grants and Loans.
The loan amount you may receive is calculated based on factors including:
- tuition fees and education costs;
- your savings/financial contributions;
- your living situation;
- annual income; and
- financial assets and investments (full-time students only).
To estimate the potential annual student grant and loan amounts you may receive, use the Student Financial Assistance Estimator.
We recommend you apply at least two months before the start of your program to ensure you receive your funding on time, if approved.
There are five steps in the application process:
Student Loan Eligibility
To qualify for a Canada Student Grant and/or Loan you must:
- be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or designated as a protected person;
- be a permanent resident of a province or territory that issues Canada Student Grants and/or Loans; and
- demonstrate financial need.
Learn more about Canada Student Grants and Loans.
Note: Quebec, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut operate their own student financial assistance programs. Contact your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office for more information.
You must also be enrolled in:
- at least 60 percent of a full course load (at least 40 percent for students with a permanent disability or a persistent or prolonged disability) if you are a full-time student;
- 20 to 59 percent of a full course load if you are a part-time student; and
- a degree, diploma or certificate program offered by a designated post-secondary school that runs for at least 12 weeks within 15 consecutive weeks.
Note: If you are a student with a permanent disability or a persistent or prolonged disability and you are studying between 40 and 59 percent of a full course load, you have the option to be considered a student in full-time or part-time studies.
You must maintain satisfactory grades to continue receiving student grants and loans each year you are in school and:
Lifetime limits on the amount of student financial assistance you can receive, including interest-free and payment-free periods, vary:
- Full-time students who received loans on or after August 1, 1995, are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 340 weeks.
- Full-time students enrolled in doctoral studies are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 400 weeks.
- Students with a permanent disability or a persistent or prolonged disability, and those who received Canada Student Loans before August 1, 1995 are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 520 weeks.
Step 1: Begin application
Apply for a Canada Student Grant and Loan online through the student financial assistance site of your province or territory of permanent residence:
Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick or Newfoundland and Labrador
- You may be eligible to receive a combination of federal and provincial student grants and loans.
- Manage and repay your student loan through the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island
- You may be eligible to receive two grants and/or loans: one from the Government of Canada and the other from your provincial government.
- Manage and repay your loans through two loan providers: the NSLSC website for your Canada Student Loan, and your provincial government's student financial assistance office or their service provider for your provincial loan.
- Apply for a Canada Student Grant and Loan through Yukon Student Aid.
- You are assessed for both federal and territorial grants as well as a Canada Student Loan.
- Manage and repay your student loan through the NSLSC website.
Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Quebec
Note: You must re-apply for a Canada Student Loan every school year. If you do not apply for financial assistance during one semester or year of study, your school must complete Confirmation of Enrolment information.
Step 2: Wait for Notice of Assessment from your province/territory
Your Notice of Assessment will indicate (by mail, online or by email) if you qualified for grants and loans:
If you are not approved for funding or you are not satisfied with the approved amount contact the student financial assistance office in your province or territory to be re-assessed.
Step 3: Review and accept the MSFAA terms and conditions
Review your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA):
- Your MSFAA is a legally binding contract. Review it carefully and read the terms and conditions. Make sure you fully understand your responsibilities and commitments before accepting. Your acceptance means you agree to be bound by the MSFAA terms and conditions.
- If your personal information is not correct, you can follow the steps on our website to update this as well as contact your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office to update it.
- Include your financial institution information for direct deposit.
- The MSFAA is a multi-year agreement. This means the next time you apply for student financial assistance, just complete and submit your student loan application for your province or territory of residence and wait for your Notice of Assessment.
Step 4: Submit your loan documents
Register or Log in to your National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) account to complete and sign your MSFAA online.
Step 5: Loan disbursement
If you provided your banking information, your grant(s) or loan(s) will be deposited directly in your financial institution account or forwarded to your school to pay your academic fees (e.g. tuition) on or after the first day of classes.
Tip: By providing your banking information and opting for direct deposit, you’ll avoid potential delays in receiving your funds by cheque.
💡 Bonus Tip! If you need to update your banking information, please log in to your secure NSLSC account and download our “How to update your Banking Information” guide for step-by-step instructions: How to update your Banking Information (PDF, 2.22 MB)
While there are exceptions, you normally receive two disbursements of money in a year, depending on when you apply:
- during your first term; and
- during your second term.
For more information on disbursement dates, check with your school's student financial assistance office.
Changes to your financial situation and eligibility
If your financial situation changes before you start school or while you are studying, you must inform your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office.
If your eligibility for student grants and loans is reassessed and this changes the amount of money you are to receive, your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office will let you know.