SPECIAL COVID-19 EDITION OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND IMPORTANT UPDATES REGARDING SCHOLARSHIPS, GOVERNMENT STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND MCGILL’S NEED-BASED AID PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
The best way to reach us is by phone or email*. Our one-on-one appointments are offered virtually. On an exceptional basis, we will grant an in-person appointment following an initial virtual consultation. Some in-person counter visits are necessary (pick-up of government documents, commissioner for oaths,..) but require a pre-booked appointment.
*Calling 514-398-6013 is currently the most expedited way to book an appointment, as availabilities can be easily determined within one interaction. Alternatively, you may email us at student.aid [at] mcgill.ca - with the subject line: Financial Aid Appointment Required + your McGill ID Number. Kindly note there may be delays in response when scheduling via email; as it takes multiple email exchanges to confirm an appointment. Please do NOT both call and email as this creates delays for all.
See Contact Us for more details.
2. I have financial concerns about quarantine costs resulting from the government's COVID-related international travel measures. Is financial help available?
Please consult our Quarantine Bursary Program for more information.
3. I have financial concerns due to exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19. Is emergency financial aid available?
You are not alone if you are experiencing urgent financial need due to essential travel necessities, quarantine costs due to government regulations when travel is required for essential academic purposes, remote learning equipment, lost wages and a host of other situations. If you have immediate financial concerns, you may apply to the Scholarships & Student Aid Office for In-Course Financial Aid. This is a bursary and loan program based on a student’s overall cost of attendance and demonstrated financial need. Our office is not in the position to ‘reimburse’ specific costs, even if unexpected. For first-degree students, parental income is a consideration.
Step 1: Submit an In-Course Aid application in Minerva
1. Go to the application in Minerva under the Financial Aid & Awards tab --> Financial Aid menu --> Apply for McGill Financial Aid --> Apply for In-Course Financial Aid. Don’t forget to Update your Financial Aid Profile with new information since your last application.
2. In addition to your regular expenses, the Resources and Budget section may include any extra and unexpected expenses you must incur for travel as well as any non-refundable living costs if you were away on exchange, for example, and which duplicate your living arrangements once you have returned.
3. In the Special Circumstances section, be specific about your exact circumstances and immediate financial concerns
Step 2: Attend an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor
1. Contact the Scholarships & Student Aid Office by emailing student.aid [at] mcgill.ca using the subject line “Urgent COVID Travel” or “Urgent Financial Need” or calling us at 514-398-6013.
Please use your McGill email and include your McGill ID in all correspondence with our office.
2. You will either be contacted by email directly by a Front Line Team member or Financial Aid Counsellor, receive an online assessment in Minerva, or you will be offered an online appointment with as little delay as possible. Check Minerva regularly for any updated information or instructions.
For more information, please see:
Our office has compiled a special edition of our Cheap Sheet: COVID-19 Tip Sheet. There is information on grocery stores, pharmacies, online shopping, utilities and some frugal living tips.
Contact the Scholarships & Student Aid Office with any urgent questions or concerns.
A summary of the Government of Canada’s pandemic-related measures that may apply McGill newly admitted students, current students, or those recently graduated is available on our pandemic-related relief measure webpage. Students are encouraged to inform themselves and take advantage when applicable.
5. I am a recipient of government student financial assistance. How might my aid or loans in repayment be impacted during this exceptional time?
Each jurisdiction has announced a variety of provisions for student aid recipients and loan borrowers. The Scholarships & Student Aid Office is helping to compile and interpret them. Please click on the relevant section(s) below.
Rest assured that McGill’s Scholarships & Student Aid Office is still handling all government aid records and paperwork, including Program Information, Confirmations of Enrolment, and Continuation of Interest-Free Status.
If you are considering withdrawal from courses, there may be an impact on your current year assessment or future assessment, depending on the timing and rules within your jurisdiction. If this results in immediate financial hardship, please see FAQ #3 for possible relief.
Note: Student loan repayment suspension put in place by the Government of Canada as part of the COVID–19 measures ended on September 30, 2020. Student loan payments and interest accrual resumed on October 1, 2020. If you think you may need continued support on your payments visit Loan Repayment Options on the National Student Loans Service Centre website.
Improvements for CLSP loan borrowers
On March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan which includes a wide set of measures to help Canadians affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To support student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has announced its plan to pause the repayment of Canada Student Loans until September 30th, 2020, with no accrual of interest. Pending parliamentary approval, these measures will become effective March 30th, 2020. This will include pre-authorized debits. We will provide more details shortly.
Important notice: If you paid interest on your student loan in 2019, your Tax Receipt and your annual statement will be available in your secure inbox as of January 13th, 2020. T4A documents will be available by February 29th, 2020.”
For Part-Time CSLP loans, if your province still uses the paper part-time application, section E must be completed by McGill Student Aid Office and then it is the student’s responsibility to submit it to the loan program. This can happen as email transmission between school and student.
Improvements to CSLP for 2020/21 academic year
On April 22, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $9B in federal measures aimed at addressing student needs during the pandemic. More students will be able to access the Canada Student Loan and Grant Program with the following increased levels of generosity temporarily IN PLACE FOR ONE YEAR ONLY:
- Double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.
- Broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
- Enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
For more information on the CSLP, please visit the Government of Canada website.
What if an institution temporarily suspends operations (e.g. school closes, exchange program students recalled, work-integrated learning cancelled, etc.) as a result of the Coronavirus?
For study periods and programs currently underway or scheduled to start after May 29, 2020, students will be eligible to receive StudentAid BC funding for up to 4 weeks during any future interruption of study related to COVID-19. After 4 weeks of interruption, institutions must report students to StudentAid BC as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) should study periods be unable to continue. If an institution extends the study period in response to an interruption, students may request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding.
What if a student is ill or has been quarantined with the Coronavirus and cannot attend classes?
As with other illnesses, students may choose to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period. If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the institution will determine whether to report their withdrawal as either a non-punitive withdrawal or unsuccessful completion. Students may choose to appeal this to StudentAid BC in order to access future funding.
Who should I contact if I’m not sure what to do?
Please call StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818.
StudentAid BC has a business continuity plan in place to continue to provide funding and support services to students and institutions in contingencies.
To ensure timely document processing, students are encouraged to submit documents and correspondence through their SABC dashboard account or by email to StudentAidBC [at] gov.bc.ca (excluding those requiring an ink signature).
At this time, an exception has been made to accept Part-Time Applications via document upload or email.
Many institutions are moving towards online delivery of programs to comply with public health directives. SABC will support these measures through the following changes:
For Program Year 2019/20 (ending July 31, 2020), existing programs moving from on site to online delivery do not require a Confirmation of Distance Education Eligibility (CODEE) form. Institutions do not need to notify SABC of these changes but must ensure compliance with their regulator.
For 2020/21, all provincially authorized (regulated) online programs offered by B.C. public and private institutions will be eligible for student financial assistance. All online programs must meet basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. be minimum of 12 weeks within a time frame of 15 consecutive weeks, offer a credential, etc.). B.C. regulated institutions may be designated by SABC if they have one eligible online program (on-site equivalent no longer required).
For more information on how to answer question 20a of the StudentAid BC application (Is your program being delivered online or blended?), please see the Loan Application Instructions for 20/21.
Streamlined Appeal Process for Current Year Income
The appeal process for applications to be reassessed based on current year income has been streamlined with a single Income Appeal form. This new form replaces the Appeal for Parent/Step-Parent, Sponsor or Legal Guardian Contribution and the Appeal for Student or Spouse/Common-Law Partner Contribution.
Note on regular application process
Students do not need to declare the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) as targeted resources on their StudentAid BC applications for student financial assistance.
Enabling Study Periods of Less than 12 Weeks
For 2020/21, eligibility for student financial assistance has expanded to include students in study periods of 6 consecutive weeks (reduced from previous minimum of 12 weeks) and no more than 52 consecutive weeks. However, study program length must still be a minimum of 12 weeks within a time frame of 15 weeks to be eligible for student financial assistance.
Programs That Require In-Person Learning or Participation for Completion
For existing and new study programs that require in-person learning or participation (work-integrated learning, co-op, clinical placements, practicums, labs, etc.) for completion, which institutions are now or will be delivering via alternate methods or in modified fashion, or may have in-person components interrupted or delayed due to COVID-19:
- These programs, should they have the approval of the institution and professional association regulators to be delivered in an alternate or modified manner, will be eligible for StudentAid BC funding provided they meet all other required basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum 12-weeks in length, lead to formal post-secondary credentials, etc.).
- In-person learning or participation may be interrupted or delayed up to 4 weeks during which time students may remain eligible for StudentAid BC funding. After 4 weeks of interruption/delay, institutions must report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) to StudentAid BC. See Interruption of Study policy.
- StudentAid BC student eligibility criteria will continue to apply for students attending modified study programs with required in-person learning or participation that are approved by institution and professional association regulators.
Restarting your Student Loan Payments
As a measure to support borrowers impacted by COVID-19, student loan repayments were temporarily suspended from March 30 to September 30, 2020. During this time interest did not accrue on the federal portion of your Canada-B.C. integrated student loan.
Your regular monthly payments will resume in October 2020 and federal interest will begin to accrue on October 1, 2020.
What do I need to do to restart repaying my student loan?
- If you are registered for pre-authorized debit, they will automatically resume in October 2020. We recommend logging in to your secure National Service Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) account to make sure that your banking information is up to date.
- If you were making payments by cheque or other means, you are now required to make payments.
- If you use automatic loan payments through your bank, you need to resume these payments.
What if I am still in school studying full-time?
If you are studying full-time there are two potential scenarios that may apply to you:
1. If you have applied for, and are receiving student financial aid, you must inform the NSLSC that you are still studying full-time by having your school complete a Confirmation of Enrollment. This will set your status in to ‘In-Study’ and no payments will be due and federal interest will not accrue.
2. If you have not applied for additional student financial aid, then you need to advise the NSLSC through your account so that they know you are still studying. If you do not do this the NSLSC will send you a loan repayment package and the federal government will commence charging you interest on your federal loan on the first day of the seventh month after your last study end period.
What if I am still in school studying part-time?
You are required to start repaying your loan and federal interest will accrue.
What if I am in my six-month non-repayment period?
Payments are not required during the non-repayment period. If your non-repayment period ended during the suspension period, payments were automatically suspended until September 30 and you will resume repaying your loan in October 2020.
What if I am already repaying my loan?
- If your loan is in good standing, i.e. your regular payments are up-to-date, your payments were automatically suspended until September 30 and you are required to resume repaying your loan in October 2020.
- If your loan is in arrears, i.e. you have missed one or more payments, your payments were automatically suspended until September 30. You are required to resume repaying your loan in October 2020, and it will be in the same arrears situation it was on March 30. For example, if you were two months behind in your payments in March, you will still be considered two months behind in October.
- If you are on the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), the National Service Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) sent you an email to let you know how your RAP period was affected. If you have not received this message, you should contact the NSLSC.
- If you are already in repayment and require more information, please contact the National Student Loans Services Centre.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Student Aid is encouraging students to use their online services as it will result in faster processing times.
There is currently no change to the application process. The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) do not need to be reported on the application and will not be used as a resource.
Submitting Part-Time Applications: As a response to COVID-19, students may now upload scanned part-time applications to the student’s Alberta Student Aid account. If a student does not have an account, the government will accept part-time applications by regular mail. Students should not submit part-time applications by fax.
Students who incur additional expenses due to COVID-19 can login to their Alberta Student Aid account to submit a Request for Review and upload any supporting documentation. Alberta Student Aid will consider the requests on a case-by-case basis.
What if an institution temporarily suspends operations as a result of COVID-19?
Alberta Student Aid is working hard to ensure that no student is negatively impacted if their institution temporarily suspends operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An interruption in study of 30 calendar days or less will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding, if students recommence classes at the end of the interruption. No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to Alberta Student Aid is required.
If an institution extends a study period past the original end date by 30 calendar days or less in response to the interruption, students who require additional funding can login to their Alberta Student Aid account and submit a Request for Review and upload any supporting documentation. If the date extension does not result in additional funding, or the student does not require additional funding for the extension, students who have Canada and Alberta student loans can update their study period in their NSLSC Online Services account.
Students who only have an Alberta student loan may submit a Form B – Confirmation of Registration - Reinstatement of Interest Free Status via fax to1-866-236-2332 or can upload through their Alberta Student Aid account as an e-Doc.
If a study period is extended by more than 30 calendar days past the original end date, a new application is required.
What if a student is ill or has been quarantined with COVID-19 and cannot attend classes?
As with other illnesses, students are encouraged to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period. If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the student will be reported as withdrawn. This withdrawal will not penalize the student in terms of eligibility for future funding under Alberta Student Aid’s History of Withdrawal Policy.
What if a student decides to self-quarantine or not attend class out of concern for contracting the COVID-19?
As with other exceptional circumstances, students are encouraged to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period. If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the student will be reported as withdrawn. This withdrawal will not penalize the student in terms of eligibility for future funding under Alberta Student Aid’s History of Withdrawal Policy.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan Student Services encourages all students that have Advanced Education portal accounts to upload their documents through that secure site. For those students who do not have a portal account, they can submit documents by email at studentservices [at] gov.sk.ca. Saskatchewan Student Services would encourage students submitting documents using email to not include their full 9 digit Social Insurance number. We suggest they include only the last 3 digits of their Social insurance number on documents that contain this requirement.
Saskatchewan Student Services also encourages students to visit the canada.ca and saskatchewan.ca websites under the COVID-19 sections on both pages for current and new information about emergency supports for students.
Manitoba Student Aid in-person service is not available at this time. They can be reached at 1-800-204-1685 or 204-945-6321. Students can submit documents by email to: manitobastudentaid [at] gov.mb.ca or by mail: 401-1181 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB, R3G 0T3
What if I am completing a new application for funding and my program has changed to online delivery?
When completing the application, choose “Majority of courses online, correspondence, or distance learning”. Designated programs delivering online programs are eligible for both full-time and part-time funding.
My work placement (practicum, co-op program, internship or on-the-job training, etc.) has been cancelled or postponed as a result of COVID-19. Will this impact my student aid funding?
Manitoba Student Aid will not be reassessing your application if your work placement has been cancelled and you are not required to complete it at a later date. The funding you have already received will not be impacted, however your future funding may be adjusted.
I am completing a new Manitoba Student Aid application, do I need to report any current Employment Insurance (EI) amount I will be receiving, as a result of losing my job?
No. You are not required to report any EI you are receiving during your study period. Make sure you have consulted with Manitoba Training and Employment Services to retain your EI benefits while in school.
Please see the section on Canada Student Loan Program regarding debt relief. As OSAP has integrated loans with CSLP, all payments are suspended from March 30th to September 30th 2020.
With respect to OAN/Password reset, students should be directed to the self-serve option available on the OSAP log in page. If they are unable to retrieve this information electronically, by email or by answering their challenge questions, their only option is to complete the form available from the link on the site and mail it, along with supporting documents, to the Student Financial Assistance Branch as instructed. OSAP will manage this in date-received order and email students their temporary password/OAN.
The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) borrowers. Please visit their website for more information.
New Brunswick Student Financial Services continues to monitor the changing situation for students and borrowers resulting from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Information on their website will be updated as appropriate.
Student Financial Services recognizes the impacts to both students and institutions as a result of COVID-19. This has generated questions on how program changes, delays and cancellations will affect student financial assistance funding. We have provided answers for some of the more common questions in the following FAQ document.
Uploading Documents: Students can now submit documents electronically through the “Upload a Document” functionality on New Brunswick student aid’s website. Information on how to upload a document and frequently asked questions on uploading a document can be found at studentaid.gnb.ca.
Contributions: For the 2020-2021 academic year, a fixed student contribution will not be used in determining need for student financial assistance. For married or common-law students, a partner contribution will also be excluded from the calculation of need.
For the 2020/21academic year to help students overcome the uncertainty of the current pandemic, following the lead of the federal Canadian Student Loan Program, PEI has removed both the expected student and spousal (if applicable) contribution from the provincial assessment for student aid. The parental contribution remains in the assessment.
Nova Scotia Student Assistance has not made any direct changes to the program’s assessment tools as a result of the pandemic.
All students receiving Nova Scotia Student Assistance in 2020-2021 will receive a COVID-19 Response Grant. This one-time $750 grant will help students cover lost earnings and other unexpected costs related to their studies. Students do not need to apply for the grant. Most students will receive their grant in January 2021. Students who start their studies in the spring or summer of 2021 will receive their grant then.
Student Aid is operating at a reduced capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, effective immediately, Student Aid has discontinued in-person and phone services. Students and the public can access the Division via email at studentaidenquiry [at] gov.nl.ca and are encouraged to send any required documents electronically to studentaidmailbox [at] gov.nl.ca .
The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador work together to provide student financial assistance. Both loans and grants are available to help you access and pay for post-secondary education. With one application you will be assessed for both federal and provincial financial assistance. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, for the 2020-21 academic year only, the government will waive fixed student contributions and spousal contributions.
For the 2020/21 academic year, students enrolled in regular classes and are attending online due to COVID-19 can still receive the airfare amount if they travel out of the Yukon for school.
Yukon Grant cheques can be electronically disbursed if student complete a Direct deposit authorization form, otherwise the payment will be sent to the students’ home address.
CERB/CESB/GSSC will not impact NWT Student Financial Assistance assessments for the 2020/21 academic year.
Two new COVID grants are now available:
- The COVID-19 Technology Grant is a one-time grant of $750 to assist with costs of purchasing technology equipment.
- The COVID-19 Support Grant is a monthly grant of $100 to assist with additional costs.
The SFA program continues to work with post-secondary students as they navigate online course delivery and modified programs. For more information, contact nwtsfa [at] gov.nt.ca.
Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students (FANS) are continuing to provide services including:
- Processing funding applications;
- Travel requests;
- Issuing payments; and,
- Responding to inquiries.
All inquiries to FANS should be emailed to fans [at] gov.nu.ca. Response times may be slower than normal.
(known as “Title IV” and “Direct Loans Program” and “FSA – Federal Student Aid”)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, students receiving US Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, Parent PLUS or Grad PLUS) have received direct communications from the Scholarships and Student Aid Office through us.studentaid [at] mcgill.ca regarding the impact and resolution of McGill’s move to online education. Students who are not currently on US Direct Loans but have previously received US Direct Loans can refer to the US Department of Education’s announcement for further information.
6. I am a Work Study Student employed on campus, but I'm concerned about my inability to continue working due to closures or illness. What do I do?
The Work Study Program continues to offer part-time employment while the campus is closed. There are opportunities for remote employment, and limited opportunities available on campus. The student application opens in July for work starting at the beginning of the upcoming fall term. If you are living on or near campus yet unable to continue working at your part-time campus job for reasons beyond your control, and you are experiencing immediate financial concerns please go to the third FAQ on this page to seek financial relief.
For more information:
7. I am an International Student. Can I still work part-time on or off-campus despite the suspension of studies?
Please refer to the COVID-19 Work FAQs on the International Student Services (ISS) website or you can contact ISS.
8. How are scholarship renewals and in-course scholarship selections impacted by increased flexibility granted to students around the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option?
The University announced the normal protocol for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is suspended for Programs and courses which are not already graded on a Pass-Fail basis. For this term, all students, whether undergraduate or graduate, may exercise the S/U option for their courses, provided that doing so would not run counter to any requirements, timelines, or policies set by their respective programs of study or external accreditation bodies. Courses for which the S/U option is exercised will not be calculated in a student’s GPA but will contribute to credits completed. Courses for which the S/U option is exercised this term may count toward a student’s major or minor requirements, and courses for which the S/U option is exercised this term will not count toward the maximum number of credits that a student may designate as S/U (i.e., up to 10 per cent of total degree credits). The date by which students may exercise the S/U option is May 22, 2020, reflecting that students’ grades are known by this time.
To align with this flexibility, the eligibility criteria to receive and/or renew scholarships have been amended to require 12 graded credits for the 2019/20 academic session (Fall and Winter) instead of the traditional 27 graded credits. This temporary policy is published in yellow alert boxes within the relevant Scholarship Regulations on the Scholarships & Student Aid website:
Under Entrance Scholarships
Under Renewable Entrance Scholarships / Number of Credits
Under Renewable Entrance Scholarships / GPA Standing
Under In-course Scholarships & Awards
Under Payment of Awards / Procedures
9. I received an Enriched Educational Opportunity (EEO) Bursary in the current academic year, but the activity that has changed or was interrupted. Will I lose my EEO bursary?
If your enriched Educational Opportunity (EEO) plans have changed, we thank you in advance for disclosing your situation to our office. Your health and safety are the priority and we will try to reduce the financial impact to the best of our ability. Rest assured that we will allow you to retain a portion of our aid to cover any out-of-pocket expenses incurred or expected but the Scholarships and Student Aid Office will need a record of what those expenses entail. We may have to rescind your original aid, but will then cover your costs from another Bursary funding source. Email us at student.aid [at] mcgill.ca to explain your situation and detail your current and expected out-of-pocket costs. We will either confirm our decision by email or reach out to schedule an appointment so please check your McGill email account.
10. I'm a newly admitted undergraduate student for Fall 2021. Are you still making Entrance Scholarship decisions?
McGill is actively recruiting students from across the world for the upcoming Fall semester, this means Admissions decisions and Entrance Scholarship decisions are continuing to take place.
11. I'm a newly admitted undergraduate student for Fall 2021. I'm counting on receiving need-based support to be able to attend. Are you still making Entrance Bursary decisions?
McGill’s Entrance Bursary program for newly admitted students offers need-based bursaries to students with demonstrated need. The application deadline closes on June 30th.
12. What can I do if I'm encountering unexpected costs to access McGill courses via remote learning that I can't afford?
If you are encountering undue financial burden caused by the unexpected need to access remote learning (whether this be internet- or equipment-related costs), there may be financial aid available to help; follow the process in the third FAQ and/or In-course Financial Aid. If emailing, be sure to indicate the nature of your needs. To allow prompt responses from our email student.aid [at] mcgill.ca relating to financial concerns, please do NOT direct questions about technological issues here. If you require technical support, please email itservices [at] mcgill.ca; for resources to help you adjust to remote learning, please visit https://mcgill.ca/tls/students/remote-learning-resources