Student Financial Assistance
Grants and Bursaries
The BC Government eliminated its main grants program in 2004. BC now offers the lowest proportion of non-repayable student aid in the country.
What's left are various targetted programs that help only a fraction of the student population. Good luck!
Student Aid Appeals
Students in extraordinary circumstances may appeal their student financial assistance award(s). In such circumstances, complete an appeal form and attach any additional documentation that will support your case. The student financial aid office at your campus can assist you with this process. Appeal forms can be downloaded from the StudentAid BC website.
Appeals of an “over-award” must be submitted within 90 days of notification to be considered.
Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program
Under the Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program (ABESAP) students enrolled in Adult Basic Education may apply for non-repayable grants to assist with education costs, including books, transportation, and course materials. For information on how to apply, contact the financial aid office at your campus.
Student Loan Interest
While you are in full-time study, interest does not accrue on any outstanding Canada Student Loan and/or British Columbia Student Loan (“in-study interest subsidy”). Interest on your loans begins to accrue from the time that you complete or leave your studies.
The limit of in-study interest subsidy is 520 weeks for a BC student loan, but only 340 weeks for the Canada Student Loan. If you are a doctoral student or a student with a permanent disability, you may apply for an extension to the 340-week limit.
If you are still in full-time studies when your in-study interest subsidy runs out, interest begins to accrue but as long as you continue to provide StudentAid BC with proof that you are a full-time student, you are not required to make loan payments until you complete or leave your studies.
If you are a full-time student who had a student loan in previous years but not the current year, you must notify the bank and/or service provider that you are a full-time student in order to maintain interest-free status. You can apply for interest-free status through one online form, replacing the former process of completing a Schedule 2 and Certificate 2 form. To apply for interest-free status, visit www.StudentAidBC.ca and click on “Apply for Interest-Free Status Online”.
The Grace Period and Beginning Repayment
Once you have completed or withdrawn from your studies, there is a six-month grace period before you are required to begin repaying your student loan(s). If you leave your studies for more than six months, or you become a part-time student, you must begin repaying your loan(s) after six months.
The bank, credit union, or service provider holding your student loan account(s) will provide you with a repayment schedule that details your expected monthly payment(s), when your payment(s) are due, and the length of your repayment period. Payments may be negotiated depending on your circumstances. If you do not receive a repayment schedule, contact your bank, credit union or service provider; you are still responsible for making your monthly payments.
You must make separate monthly payments for your Canada Student Loan(s) and British Columbia Student Loan(s), and for any other outstanding provincial student loan(s) you may have. Even if you think that you will not be able to repay your loan, it is important to discuss a repayment schedule with the service provider, bank, or credit union holding your student debt.
You will be required to begin paying your loan(s) back after 520 weeks (ten years) of interest-free status, regardless of your study status.