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Career Counselling Services

What is the role of a Career and Financial Counsellor within Student Financial Services?

The Career and Financial Counsellor promotes sound career decision making that will assist students in graduating post-secondary in a timely manner with a managable student loan debt. Through the career counselling process, counsellors are able to work with students to assist in a number of areas, including review of educational plan, labour market research and career options.

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Why do students get referred to a Career and Financial Counsellor?

Students can be referred to a career counsellor for a number of reasons including:

  • Switching programs of study after the permissible time

    In the event you switch programs, your eligibility for assistance may be affected. If you switch programs after the end of the fourth semester or the midpoint of your program, you may be required to provide a rationale to support your decision to switch programs before additional assistance is approved. The letter of rationale must demonstrate academic progression, good labour market prospects, and information on how the switch will not leave you with an unmanageable level of debt. Students are encouraged to include any relevant information supporting their decision such as current job ads, union reports and employee/employer comments.

  • Requesting financial assistance for subsequent program

    You may be eligible for assistance beyond your initial program, provided it can be demonstrated that the subsequent program(s) represents academic progression, has good labour market prospects, and will not result in you accumulating an unmanageable level of debt. You may be required to submit a rationale to support your decision.

  • Completing programs of study in a timely manner

    You are eligible to receive assistance for the normal length of your program, as defined by the educational institution, plus a grace period of up to a maximum of one academic year.

    Example: A Bachelor of Arts program is normally eight semesters (four academic years) in duration. Financial assistance is available for those eight semesters (four academic years) plus an additional two-semester (one academic year) grace period, for a total of ten semesters (five academic years) of funding.

  • Request for reduced course load

    When requesting an exemption from the 80% full course load requirement, further clarification may be required, resulting in consultation with a Career and Financial Counsellor.

  • High unmet need of over $3000 per semester

    Students with substantial need above their loan eligibility may be contacted by a Career and Financial Counsellor to discuss financial planning. The purpose is to ensure the student is aware that additional resources will be required to finance their post-secondary education.

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Who refers students to a Career and Financial Counsellor?

Internal referrals are received from management, Appeals Officer, Senior Assessment Officers and Student Aid Information Officers. External referrals are also received from post-secondary school representatives, High School Guidance Counsellors, professionals from the community and self-referrals.

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What can you expect to discuss with a Career and Financial Counsellor?

During the initial session with a student, the student's career plan is reviewed including discussions on previous and/or current academic activities. This will aid in establishing suitability to a new program choice. As well, emphasis is placed on reviewing the student's labour market awareness and if it is determined that the student lacks knowledge in this area they will be required to complete a Labour Market Research Questionnaire. This questionnaire guides the student in researching a variety of resources to ensure they have a full understanding of the employment and salary potential for this occupation.

As well, there is a review of the student's awareness of their current student loan debt, projected debt and how the accumulated debt will impact the Total Service Debt Ratio depending on salary expectations. The Total Service Debt Ratio is a calculation which provides insight into a student's ability to repay.

Should the student be required to gather subsequent information, additional sessions with a Career and Financial Counsellor can be arranged to ensure the information is adequate prior to determining eligibility for future funding.

A Career Counselling Summary Report is completed which will include a decision on whether additional financial assistance will be provided and the student is notified of the decision.

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How can I contact a Career and Financial Counsellor?

Consult with a Student Aid Information Officer to see if your circumstances warrant a referral to a Career and Financial Counsellor at 1-888-657-0800 or studentaid@gov.nl.ca.

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