Frequently Asked Questions

Application

Why am I asked if I identify as aboriginal on my application?
What is the pre-study period?
How is NL residency determined?
How is student category determined?
What does it mean if my application was reassessed?
What does it mean when I have been over-awarded?
Can I cancel my application?
Can I appeal?

Eligibility

Is there assistance for shorter periods of study?
Does academic performance affect student loans?
How long can I receive a student loan?
Can I get a loan for a different program (subsequent program or program switch)?
What is a letter of rationale?
What happens if I report false information?
What is an audit?

Students with Permanent Disabilities

Who can qualify as a student with a permanent disability?
What are education-related costs for students with permanent disabilities?

Receiving your Funds

How do I provide my banking information?
How do I register my MSFAA?

Repayment

Am I required to make payments on my student loan if I return to school?
How and when do I repay my student loan?
Who should I contact regarding my student loan balance?
What do I do if my student loan is in default/collections?
What do I do if I can’t afford to make a payment on my student loan?
I have filed for Bankruptcy. Do I have to continue making payments on my student loan?

Why am I asked if I identify as aboriginal on my application?

Under the federal program, those who identify as an aboriginal student will be exempt from the pre-study contribution for federal funding.

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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.

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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 for which the above criteria would be true.

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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;
  • married or common-law student; and
  • single parent.

A dependent student is considered to be financially dependent on their parent(s), step-parent(s), sponsor(s) or legal guardian(s).

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.

An independent student is considered to be financial independent of their parent(s), step-parent(s), sponsor(s) or legal guardian(s).

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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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 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.

  • You or your parents can appeal the assessment by completing a Student Appeal Form (766 KB). This form must be signed by both you and your parents if the parental contribution is being appealed.
  • If appealing on medical grounds, the Medical Appeal Form (748 KB) is required.

The review time for 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.

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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/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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Can I get a loan for a different program (subsequent program or program switch)?

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. For more information on gathering Labour Market Information, click here.

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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.

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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 post-secondary 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 students with permanent disabilities?

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 (475 KB) for a more extensive list.

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How do I provide my banking information?

Depending on the type(s) of funding you will receive, you may need to submit your banking information twice. Refer to the Receiving Your Funds for details.

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How do I register my MSFAA?

Refer to the Receiving Your Funds page for steps to complete the MSFAA.

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Am I required to make payments on my student 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 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) (611 KB) 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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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 (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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Who should I contact regarding my student loan balance?

The National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) 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
National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC)

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What do I do if my student loan is in default/collections?

A student loan is considered to be in default when you are behind on your payments for 270 days (nine months) and collection activities are required. If you have defaulted on a student loan, you first need to determine if it is a Canada Student Loan and/or a NL Student Loan. Depending on the type(s) of loan you have defaulted on, you may need to follow two different processes to make payment arrangements and to get your loan(s) back in good standing.

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What do I do if I can’t afford to make a payment on my student loan?

Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) as soon as you realize you are unable to make a payment. This will aid in keeping your loan in good standing if you are able to access any of the repayment assistance options available.

You may be eligible for Canada Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses if you are working as a family doctor, resident in family medicine, nurse or nurse practitioner in a designated rural or remote community.

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I have filed for Bankruptcy. Do I have to continue making payments on my student loan?

Generally, student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy unless seven years have passed from the last time you were a full-time or part-time student. If you do not meet this requirement, your student loan will not be discharged. In the case where a student loan is not discharged, payments will not be required on your loan during your bankruptcy proceeding, but once you receive your discharge, payments on the student loan will be required.

Click here or contact the National Student Loans Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514 for additional information on how bankruptcy affects your student loan debt.

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