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Frequently Asked Questions

I didn't print a copy of my online Notice of Assessment before I submitted my application. Can you send me a copy?

Once your application is submitted you cannot obtain the online assessment nor can staff at the Student Financial Services Division print it for you. You will receive an official Notice of Assessment once your application is processed.

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What is the pre-study period?

The pre-study period is up to 17 weeks before the start of classes for the current academic year depending on if you were a full time student during that period. For example, if you finish high school in June and are starting post-secondary studies the following September, your pre-study period is the time between the day you finished high school and the start of classes in September-about 9 weeks. A pre-study period cannot be less than 4 weeks in duration. A break between the end of the fall semester and the start of the winter semester is not a pre-study period unless the break is 4 weeks or more.

Pre-Study Period - minimum of 4 weeks and up to a maximum of 17 weeks!

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How is student category determined?

There are 6 student categories:

  • single dependant student living at home;
  • single dependant student living away from home;
  • single independent student living at home;
  • single independent student living away from home;
  • married or common-law student; and
  • single parent.

You will be considered a dependant student if:

  • you have never been married or in a common-law relationship (to be considered to be living common-law, you must have lived with your partner for a period of at least 12 consecutive months); and
  • you have never been a single parent with legal custody and financial responsibility for supporting a child(ren); and
    you are pursuing post-secondary education within 4 years (48 months) of leaving high school; and
  • you have not been in the labour force full time for 2 years, excluding time spent as a full-time student. The 2 years need not be consecutive; however, each year must be a period of 12 consecutive months.

You will be considered an independent student if:

  • you are not married or living in a common-law relationship; and
  • you are not a single parent; and
  • you do not meet any of the other criteria for a dependant student.

Student category is determined by your status on the first day of the month in which your study period begins; it cannot be changed for the remainder of that study period except in exceptional circumstances.

If your status changes during the fall semester, your new status will not be reflected in the need assessment or adjusted until the winter semester. You may appeal to change your student category from dependant to independent, but only in exceptional situations where there is a family breakdown. A written explanation from an unbiased, unrelated third party who has personal knowledge of the situation and who can state the reason(s) is required.

If you change your student category from married/common-law to independent student or single parent you may be requested to provide proof of this change by an unbiased, unrelated third party.

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Do I have to reapply if I'm changing campuses or institutions?

Student financial assistance cannot be transferred from one campus to another, nor from one educational institution to another. You will need to submit a request to cancel your application and reapply for the correct campus or institution.

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How do I request a new Master Student Financial Assistance (MSFAA)?

You can submit a request to the Student Financial Services Division to have a new MSFAA issue. Ensure you indicate whether you want to pick up the form from our office or have it resent to you in the mail.

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How is NL residency determined?

Residency is established when you have lived in a province or territory for 12 consecutive months while not enrolled in full-time studies. To be eligible for student financial assistance from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, your most recent residence (and, if applicable, your parents' or spouse's residence) must be in Newfoundland and Labrador.

You are considered to be a permanent resident of Newfoundland and Labrador if:

  • you are a dependant student and the province of residence of your parent(s), guardian(s) or sponsor(s) is Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • you are a dependant student, your parents are separated or divorced and the parent with whom you live or who provides your principal means of financial support is considered to be a permanent resident of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • you are a dependant student, your parents moved away from the province but you remain in Newfoundland and Labrador to begin or continue post-secondary education within 12 months of your parents' move;
  • you are a dependant student, your parent(s) resides outside Canada but their last province of permanent residence was Newfoundland and Labrador before leaving Canada; or
  • you are an independent student, a single parent, married or living common-law and you last lived in the province for at least 12 consecutive months, excluding time spent as a full-time student at a post-secondary institution.

If you do not meet the any of the above requirements, you may apply for financial assistance from the Province or Territory opens in new window for which the above criteria would be true.

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Who can qualify as a student with a permanent disability?

To be eligible, you must have a permanent disability which is defined as a functional limitation:

  • caused by a physical or mental impairment;
  • that restricts your ability to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in studies at a postsecondary level or the labour force; and
  • that is expected to remain with you for your whole life.

Refer to the Students with Permanent Disabilities section for more information.

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What are education-related costs for qualified permanent disability students?

The Canada Student Grant for Services & Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities and the Grant for High Need Students with Permanent Disabilities are designed to help students overcome education-related barriers associated with their disability that they may encounter while pursuing post-secondary training.

Eligible students may receive funds to cover the costs of equipment and/or services that are directly related to overcoming the educational barriers that the disability may present. The equipment and/or services covered by these grants may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Tutors
  • Note takers
  • Interpreters
  • Readers
  • Alternate format
  • Assistive technology (computer, software, etc.)
  • Specialized transportation (to and from school)
  • Attendant care for studies
  • Reimbursements for learning disability assessments (75% up to $1200)

Refer to the List of Services and Equipment - CSG-PDSE PDF (206 KB) for a more extensive list.

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The information I provided in my application has changed, what do I do?

If your circumstances (such as course load or financial situation) change you should notify Student Financial Services as soon as reasonably possible. This will result in your application being reassessed.

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What does it mean if my application was reassessed?

A reassessment is the result of the Student Financial Services Division receiving new or different information related to a past, current or future semester for which you were deemed eligible to receive student financial assistance. Reassessments generally occur for the following reasons:

  • Information is received which differs from what has previously been provided (including your Income Confirmation Form).
  • An audit of your Income Tax reveals your income was different than previously reported.
  • Information requested by the Student Financial Services Division has not been provided.

A reassessment may mean that you are entitled to receive the same, more or less financial assistance than the initial assessment indicates. If there is no change, no action is required. If it is determined that you are eligible to receive more financial assistance, the additional funds will be released once your educational institution confirms your enrollment. If it is determined that you are not eligible for student financial assistance that you have already received, you will be over-awarded for that amount.

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What does it mean when I have been over-awarded?

An over-award (overpayment) is the result of a reassessment which determines you have received more student financial assistance than you were eligible to receive.

Over-awards can be recovered in a number of ways:

  • NL Student Loans and Canada Student Loans

    The amount of the over-award will be deducted from future loan entitlements. If you enter repayment, the over-award will be repaid according to your repayment plan.

    Example: Your fall semester application was re-assessed because of a change in income. Through the re-assessment it was determined you were not eligible for $500 of the total amount of funding you received. When your loan is disbursed the following winter semester, it will be reduced by $500.

  • NL Student Grants

    The amount of your over-award will be deducted from any future NL Student Grant entitlements. However, if not recovered prior to your repayment start date, any outstanding over-award will automatically be converted to an interest-free NL Student Loan.

  • Canada Student Grants

    If you withdraw from studies or change from full-time to part-time status within 30 calendar days of the first day of classes, all or part of a Canada Student Grant that was disbursed for the respective period of studies will be converted into a loan in accordance with the conditions stated on your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA). You will have the opportunity to repay the over-award immediately; otherwise, this amount will be added to your outstanding loan principal at consolidation.

    If a reassessment of your application determines that you provided inaccurate information rendering you ineligible for a Canada Student Loan or Canada Student Grant for full-time or part-time studies, all or part of the Canada Student Grant that was issued will be converted into a loan in accordance with the conditions stated on your MSFAA and the Canada Student Financial Assistance Regulations (CSFAR).

    Note: If you are able to provide documented evidence within 6 months that your withdrawal from studies or your change from full- to part-time studies was as a result of unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances beyond your control, the decision to convert the grant into a loan may be reconsidered.

Refer to the Terms and Conditions of your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement opens in new window for additional information.

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Can I cancel my application?

If you want to cancel your application, please notify the Student Financial Services Division in writing via email, mail or fax. (See contact details).

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Can I appeal?

If you feel that your application was assessed incorrectly or extenuating circumstances were not taken into consideration, you may appeal.

Note: Appeal deadlines are strictly enforced (see below).

Initial Appeal (Tier One)

  • You must appeal in writing. Appeal forms are available at the Student Financial Services Division or online.

    Include your Social Insurance Number and supporting documentation and send your appeal to the Student Financial Services Division. You may fax, mail, email or hand-deliver Tier One appeals to our office at Coughlan College.

  • Your parents can appeal their assessed parental contribution by completing a Student/Parent Appeal Form - Tier One PDF (812 KB). This form must be signed by both you and your parents.

  • If appealing on medical grounds, the Medical Appeal Form PDF (778 KB) is required.

The review time for Tier One appeals is 14 business days.

Deadline: You must submit your appeal no later than 8 weeks prior to the end of the study period (semester) for which you are seeking financial assistance. For semesters less than 12 weeks' duration, the deadline date is 4 weeks prior to the end of the study period to which your appeal relates.

Subsequent Appeal (Tier Two)

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Tier One appeal, you have the option of submitting a written request to the Student Financial Services Division for further review of your case by the External Appeals Board. You may be present at the meeting, either in person or via teleconference.

The decision of the External Appeal Board is final and binding on all parties.

Tier Two appeals may be submitted by fax, mail, email or delivered by hand to our office at Coughlan College.

The review time for Tier Two appeals is 30 business days.

Deadline: You must submit your appeal no later than 6 weeks prior to the end of the study period to which your appeal relates.

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Can I apply for full time funding while doing a reduced course load?

Students enrolled in less than 80% of a full course load do not receive the Provincial portion of Student Aid funding. Students may apply to receive this funding while doing a reduced course load if they meet the criteria below.

  1. A single parent who has a child (or children) under 12 years of age and who:
    • is carrying at least 60% of a full course load that includes at least one university credit course requiring lab time in addition to regular classroom time; or
    • has a child (or children) with special needs; or
    • has other personal circumstances that merit special consideration.
  2. A student who is enrolled in at least 60% of a full course load and has:
    • a severe medical condition; or
    • recently experienced a trauma that merits special consideration; or
    • other documented extenuating circumstances.

Submit a Reduced Course Load Request Form PDF (1.2 MB) to determine eligibility.

Note: Students who have been approved under the Canada Student Grants for Persons with Permanent Disabilities program (CSG-PD) are automatically approved for a reduced course load.

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Will I get the NL Student Grant if I am studying outside the province?

For the 2015-16 academic year, if you are studying outside the province and are deemed eligible for student financial assistance, you are automatically assessed for up to a maximum of $60 per week in NL Student Loans and an additional $80 per week in NL Student Grants for a combined weekly maximum of $140 for your study period.

If you are applying for the 2016-17 academic year, you will be assessed for up to $140 per week in NL Student Loan.

You may be eligible for an increase in the NL Student Grant portion. If approved, this means you could receive $40 per week in NL Student Loan and an additional $100 per week in NL Student Grant. To determine your eligibility for the increased NL Student Grant, complete and submit the NL Student Grant Eligibility Form PDF (751 KB).

You must meet one of the criteria below to be considered for the increased grant:

  • The program is not available in the Province. There are a number of known programs not offered in the Province – i.e., Bachelor of Law; Veterinary Medicine. If the program is at the degree level, confirmation from Memorial University of Newfoundland that the program is not available is required.
  • The program is substantially different from any program available in the Province. Provide a program outline of your current program and identify the differences from a program offered in the Province.
  • I was not admitted to the program in the Province due to limited enrolment. Provide documentation from the institution that you applied confirming you were not admitted for this reason.
  • I did not meet the entrance requirements of educational institutions in the Province, but did for the same program in another jurisdiction. Provide documentation from the institution to which you applied confirming that you were not admitted for this reason.
  • I received transfer credits toward or advanced standing into the program which significantly reduced the overall time required to complete the entire program. Provide documentation confirming the regular program length and the length of time the program will be reduced by based on approval of transfer credits.
  • My spouse is enrolled in a program outside the Province that would be eligible for a higher NL Student Grant. Provide confirmation of the program for which your spouse is enrolled.
  • My spouse is employed full-time outside the Province. Provide confirmation of your spouse's employment.
  • Other – Please provide an explanation with supporting documentation.

Note to Graduate Students: Students enrolled in graduate studies (i.e., Masters or above) outside the province will be automatically eligible for the increased NL Student Grant amount. Confirmation will be required through submission of the Program Cost Form PDF (954 KB) which is completed by your educational institution.

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Is there assistance for shorter periods of study?

Student financial assistance is available for periods of study of less than 12 weeks duration (but are at least 6 weeks), provided the study period requested is an extension of a program of study which itself is at least 12 weeks in duration. In these situations, you must submit a completed application no later than 2 weeks after the start of classes. All other conditions remain the same.

For a 6-week period of study, you are encouraged to submit your application well in advance of the start of classes to ensure timely processing.

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Does academic performance affect student loans?

To remain eligible for Canada Student Loans and Grants for full-time studies, you must maintain enrollment in at least 60% of a full course load during each period of study for which you receive funding. To remain eligible for Canada Student Loans and Grants for part-time studies, you must successfully complete all courses for which funding was issued. To remain eligible for funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador Student Financial Assistance Program, you must maintain at least 80% of a full course load.

Students with permanent disabilities must maintain at least 40% of a full course load for full-time funding, or 20% for part-time funding.

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How long can I receive a student loan?

You are eligible to receive assistance for the normal length of your program, as defined by your school, plus a grace period of up to a maximum of one academic year (or 2 semesters).

Example: A Bachelor of Arts program is normally 8 semesters (4 academic years) in duration. Financial assistance is available for this duration plus an additional grace period of 2 semesters (1 academic year), for a total of 10 semesters (5 academic years) of funding.

There is a Life Time Limit on funding available. You can apply for up to 340 weeks of assistance or up to 400 weeks if you are a doctoral student. Students with permanent disabilities and students who obtained a guaranteed loan (a loan prior to August 1, 1995) can apply for up to 520 weeks of assistance. Eligible assistance includes times you were in interest-free status, which means you did not pay any interest on your loans while you were in school full-time.

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My banking information has changed, what do I do ?

You will need to contact a representative of the National Student Loans Service Centre by calling toll-free 1-888-815-4514. They will advise you how to go about updating your banking information with them.

Bank Account Information Change Request for Electronic Disbursements opens in new window

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Who should I contact regarding my student loan balance?

The National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) opens in new window manages the repayment of your student loans on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

For information on your loan balance or to find out information on repaying your loan, contact:

National Student Loan Service Centre:
Toll Free: 1-888-815-4514
Fax: 1-888-815-4657
csnpe-nslsc.cibletudes-canlearn.ca/eng/Default.aspx opens in new window

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How and when do I repay my student loan?

Repayment on your student loan begins on the first day of the seventh month following your last period of study end date. If you return to full time studies prior to the seventh month, your previous loans will revert to interest free status as long as NSLSC opens in new window (1-888-815-4514) is aware of your status.

If you have completed your studies and will be entering repayment or require more information please read about Repaying Your Loan.

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Am I required to make payments on my loan if I return to school?

If you are returning to full time studies, you must inform the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) of your status to ensure you do not enter the repayment phase. If you are in receipt of a loan and your school confirms your enrollment, the NSLSC will update your status. If you are not in receipt of a loan, you must confirm your enrollment and notify the NSLSC to maintain your interest free status and keep your loans in good standing. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Sign on to your the NSLSC Online Services opens in new window and navigate to the "confirm your enrolment" section.
  • Contact the Administration/Registrar's office of your school and they will electronically confirm your enrolment with the NSLSC; or
  • Complete a Confirmation of Enrolment Form (Schedule 2) opens in new window and forward it to the NSLSC. Both you and your school must complete the Schedule 2 form as proof that you are enrolled in school. The form must be submitted to the NSLSC before the end of the month in which your period of study begins.

You can contact the NSLSC at 1-888-815-4514 to confirm receipt of the Confirmation of Enrolment Form.

Note: If you are in part-time studies, you will be required to make payments on your full time loans.

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Can I get a loan for a subsequent program or if I switch programs?

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

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 after the midpoint of your program, you may be required to provide a letter of rationale to demonstrate that the program you are switching to has good labour-market prospects and will not result in the accumulation of an unmanageable level of debt.

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What is a letter of rationale?

A letter of rationale is how a student demonstrates to the Student Financial Services Division (SFSD) that funding for a program other than their first is reasonable and justified. This letter with any supporting documentation is to be complied by the student and submitted to SFSD. It is entirely up to the student what material to submit in a letter of rationale, but at a minimum it should demonstrate the labor market prospects for the program and that it will not result in the accumulation of an unmanageable level of debt.

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How does bankruptcy affect student loans?

As of July 7, 2008, the waiting period to have a Canada Student Loan debt discharged under a bankruptcy was reduced from 10 to 7 years.

If you can provide proof of exceptional financial hardship, the waiting period will be reduced to 5 years. To qualify for this reduction, you must demonstrate to the court that you have acted in good faith and that you will continue to experience financial difficulties. To find out more, you should contact your bankruptcy trustee.

Are you a student-loan borrower who:

  • has filed for bankruptcy?
  • has filed a consumer proposal?
  • is participating in a provincial arrangement for the orderly repayment of debts?

If so, and if you have not yet begun repaying your loan at the time of filing, you may be eligible for a student loan for full-time study covering up to 3 additional years to complete your current program of study. Switching programs will not be permitted.

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What happens if I report false information?

False or misleading statements, information, and misrepresentation, including by omission, may be considered fraud or abuse and may result in being restricted from student financial assistance for a period of up to five years. Student financial assistance includes loans, grants, and repayment assistance. In some instances, you may be required to immediately repay any loans or grants received from fraudulent or abusive actions.

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What is an audit?

All information provided to the Student Financial Services Division is subject to audit, including number of dependants, marital status, the date you left high school and financial information.

The financial information you provide will be checked against information you, your parents or your spouse have provided to the Government of Canada when submitting income tax returns. If there are discrepancies, automatic adjustments will be made to your file and you will be notified in writing.

Be aware that providing incorrect financial information on two occasions, or deliberately providing incorrect information at any time to the Student Financial Services Division, may result in you being restricted from receiving further financial assistance.

Submitting false or misleading information in relation to any application for government-subsidized assistance is an offense pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Student Financial Assistance Act. Fines and/or imprisonment may result.

How much Student Financial Assistance does the province provide in total annually?

Please click the attached pdf for the most recent Student Financial Assistance Division Statistics. PDF (70 KB)

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