Calculating Student Financial Assistance
Your eligibility to receive assistance will be determined by assessing your financial need. This is done by adding together the costs for your education and your living expenses, and then subtracting any financial resources that may be available to you. This determines your assessed financial need—the amount of funding for which you may be eligible.
The provincial government provides funding for 40% of the amount assessed to a maximum total of $140 per week of study; the federal government provides 60% of the amount assessed to a maximum of $210 in loans (in some cases, eligible recipients of Canada Student Grants may receive greater than $210 in total federal assistance per week of study).
Once the completed application is received, including all required documentation, a standardized process is used to calculate the amount of assistance you are eligible to receive.
This formula is simple: total individual and family resources are subtracted from total educational and living costs:
Costs – Available Resources = Assessed Need
Students with a positive (+) assessed need will be eligible for assistance as explained in this guide. Students with a negative (–) assessed need are deemed to have sufficient resources to cover the costs of attending post-secondary studies.
There are 6 student categories:
You will be considered a dependant student if:
You will be considered an independent student if:
Changing Student Category
Your 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.
If your status changes during the fall semester, your new status will not be reflected in the needs assessment or adjusted until the winter semester. For example, if your study period starts on September 1, 2011, but you will be getting married on October 1, 2011, your status will not be updated until the winter semester—after you have reapplied as a married student and included your spouse’s information on the application.
A student’s category may be changed from dependant to independent, but only in situations where there is a family breakdown. Proof of a family breakdown must be provided by an unbiased, unrelated third party who confirms the family breakdown and states the reason(s) for the breakdown.
A student’s category may be changed from married or common law to independent student or single parent only in situations where proof of this change in marital status is provided by an unbiased, unrelated third party who can also confirm the date of separation.
A weekly living allowance, based upon student category, is used in the calculation of costs as per the following table.
|Student Category||Living Allowance|
|Single student living at home||$95|
|Single student living away from home||$208|
|Married or common-law student||$414|
All students are assessed standard costs that reflect as closely as possible the costs associated with each student’s living situation.
Education costs include the following:
Other Costs Considered:
Your financial resources (and those of your parents or spouse, if applicable) will be used to calculate the amount you will be expected to contribute toward your education.
These include, but are not limited to resources such as earned income, Employment Insurance benefits, training allowances, pension benefits, financial investments (e.g. GICs, savings accounts, dividend income) and scholarships.
You are expected to work full-time during the period immediately preceding the start date of your study period (usually 9 to 17 weeks). From your net income, a moderate standard of living is allowed; you are then required to contribute 80% from the remaining amount toward the cost of your education.
If you work during your study period, there is a $100 per week exemption from your gross employment income. All (100%) of the remaining net (after-tax) income will be used in calculating your assessed need.
Scholarships and Bursaries
If you receive a scholarship or bursary, you must report the total amount on your application; however, only the amount that exceeds $1,800 per academic year will be considered a financial resource in calculating your assessed need.
Any income you receive by virtue of being a student (e.g., NL Skills Development) will be assessed at 100%.
For a dependant student, the income of his or her parent(s) will determine the parental contribution. This amount will vary; it depends on family income after taxes, a moderate standard of living allowance and family size. The standard-of-living allowance measures the cost of living for a family, taking into consideration regional variations and family size.
If your parents have 2 or more dependant children enrolled in post-secondary studies, the calculated contribution will be divided by the number of children. This will determine their contribution for each child.
Try the Parental Contribution Calculator at CanLearn.ca to estimate what your parents may be expected to contribute toward your education.
Note: The refusal of parent(s) to contribute to the cost of post-secondary education is not an acceptable reason to have an assessed parental contribution waived.
Scholarship Trust Fund and Parental Contribution
In cases where a scholarship trust fund or Registered Education Savings Plan has been established for you, the parental contribution amount is assessed based on your parents’ income(s) or on the annual amount available from the trust fund, whichever is greater.
If you are married or living common-law, your spouse or partner’s income from the pre-study period (usually 9 to 17 weeks) will also be included when calculating the need assessment. From his or her net income, a moderate standard of living is allowed and your spouse is required to contribute 80% of the remaining amount toward the cost of your education.
For the in-study period, your spouse or partner is required to contribute 70% of his or her net income (i.e. after taxes) toward the cost of your education.
Costs – Available Resources = Assessed Need
Once the costs of attending post-secondary studies have been determined, the financial resources available will be subtracted from those costs. This results in an assessed need:
Andrew is a dependant student from St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador. He graduated from high school in June and will attend Memorial University as a full-time student in St. John’s in September.
Andrew has enrolled in 5 courses at Memorial University and will be living away from home during the semester.
|Books and computer-related costs||750|
|Living costs ($208 x 17 weeks)||3,536|
Pre-study Period Income
During the pre-study period (nine weeks between the completion of high school and the start of university), Andrew lived at home and his gross income was $ 2,075.
|Gross income during pre-study period||$2,075|
|Less taxes (6.77%)||(140)|
|Less weekly living allowance($95 x 9 weeks)||(855)|
|Pre-Study Period Contribution (80% of discretionary income)||$864|
Study Period Income
Andrew decided to work during the fall semester and will gross $2,500 during that period.
There is an exemption of $100 of gross employment income per week when students work during their study period.
|Gross income during study period||$2,500|
|Less taxes (6.77%)||(169)|
|Less weekly exemption ($100 x 17 weeks)||(1700)|
|Study Period Contribution||$631|
Parents of dependant students are required to provide their financial information so the Student Financial Services Division can determine their contribution toward their child(ren)’s educational costs.
|Family Resources||Parent #1||Parent #2||Combined|
Andrew’s parents have a combined after-tax income of $52,939. His family consists of his mom, dad, sister and himself (a family size of four).
The Moderate Standard of Living (MSOL) is a measure of the costs of living for the parents of dependant students. The Moderate Standard of Living for a family of four living in Newfoundland and Labrador is $49,358.
|Family size||MSOL (NL)|
The difference between total parental income ($52,939) and the family’s Moderate Standard of Living ($49,358) is $3,581. This represents the discretionary income for Andrew’s family.
Based on this discretionary income, Andrew’s parents will be required to contribute $12 per week of study. Based on a 17-week period of study, their total expected contribution would be $204.
Calculation of Assessed Need
To calculate Andrew’s assessed need, his total individual and family resources are subtracted from his total educational and living costs.
|Costs (educational and living)||$6,094|
|Less Resources (pre-study, study, and parental contribution)||(1,699)|
Note: In situations where the assessed need exceeds the available limits for loans and grants (called unmet need), students will have to secure additional resources to cover the full costs of attending a post-secondary program because student financial assistance will not completely cover all associated costs.
The federal portion for financial assistance comprises 60% of the assessed need, up to a maximum of $210 per week of study (in some cases, eligible recipients of Canada Student Grants may receive greater than $210 in total federal assistance per week of study). Financial assistance from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador comprises 40% of the assessed need, up to a maximum of $140 per week of study (including a maximum of $60 per week in loans and $80 per week in an Up-front Provincial Grant).
Students who apply for a loan with the Student Financial Services Division and meet the eligibility requirements for the Up-front Provincial Grant are automatically assessed for a Canada Student Grant.
Following are the thresholds used to determine eligibility for the Canada Student Grant for Students from Low-Income Families and the Canada Student Grant for Students from Middle-Income Families.
|Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Family Size||Low-income Threshold||Middle-income Threshold|
Andrew’s family consists of four people and the pre-tax family income is $67000. Therefore, Andrew is ineligible for a Canada Student Grant for Students from Low-Income and Middle-Income Families.
As indicated above, Andrew’s assessed need for a 17-week study period is $4,395:
Federal portion (60%) $2,637
Provincial portion (40%) $1,758
Total Assistance $4,395
|Breakdown of Federal Assistance (total of $2,637)
|Canada Student Grant for Students from Middle-Income Families||$0|
|Canada Student Loan||$2,673|
Breakdown of Provincial Assistance
|Provincial Student Loan ($60 per week for 17 weeks)||$1,020|
|Up-Front Provincial Grant (up to $80 per week for 17 weeks)||$738|
Note: The maximum Up-front Provincial Grant for a 17 week study period is $80 x 17 = $1,020. In this example, once the provincial student loan of $60 per week is subtracted ($1,020), the remaining portion of provincial need ($738) is less than the maximum grant available.
Therefore, the total loan portion of Andrew’s student financial assistance is $3,657 ($2,637 in federal and $1,020 in provincial loans) and the total grant portion is $738 (provincial grant).
Table of Discretionary Income
A Notice of Assessment will be mailed to you informing you of the outcome of your application detailing the amount, if any, of student financial assistance awarded. If your application is reassessed at any point during the period of study, a Notice of Assessment (Revised) will be sent to you. These notices will be sent to the mailing address you provided on your application form. Please ensure the Student Financial Services Division is notified immediately of any change in your address.
If you are a first time applicant or you have had a break in studies of more than two years once your application is assessed (and if it results in approval to receive an amount of student financial assistance) you will be sent a Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) to the mailing address you provided on your application form. Please ensure the Student Financial Services Division is notified immediately of any change in your address.
Review any notices you receive upon receipt to ensure they accurately reflect your situation. If you have any questions regarding any notifications received from the Student Financial Services Division, do not hesitate to contact us. Please see the outside back cover of this Guide for full contact information.
If your circumstances—such as your course load or financial situation—change after your application is processed, your file will be reassessed, resulting in one of three outcomes:
An over-award (overpayment) is student financial assistance that you receive but are not eligible for. Over-awards will be recovered as follows:
NL Student Loans; Up-front Provincial Grants, and Canada Student Loans
The amount of the over-award will be deducted from future loan and/or grant entitlements.
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. 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 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.
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.
False or misleading statements, information, and misrepresentation, including by omission, may be considered fraud or abuse and may result in a borrower 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 the borrower may be required to immediately repay any loans or grants received from fraudulent or abusive actions.