Important Note: Most government financial aid programs do not allow students to benefit from two jurisdictions simultaneously. Failure to adhere to this regulation may result in loss of government aid and other serious sanctions.

Eligibility & Applying

Red circle with antenna signallingStudents with Canada or Integrated Provincial Student Loans: it’s now more important than ever to register an account with NSLSC On-Line Services. An NSLSC On-Line Services feature directly affects how you receive information on the status of your loan.

The National Student Loans Service Centre is now on YouTube! Check out their channel for more information on the support they offer borrowers throughout their student loan experience :

English ChannelWoman holding books. A TV screen with the YouTube logo and National student Loans Services Centre on it.


To be eligible for Canada government aid students must meet the requirements set out by the Government of Canada:

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or designated as a protected person;
  • be a permanent resident of a province or territory that issues Canada Student Financial Assistance (Note: The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec operate their own student loan programs.);
  • demonstrate financial need;
  • be enrolled in at least 60 percent of a full course load (40 percent for students with permanent disabilities) if you are a full-time student;
  • be enrolled in 20-59 percent of a full course load if you are a part-time student (if you are a student with permanent disabilities and you are studying between 40-59 percent of a full course load, you can choose to be considered a student in full or part-time studies);
  • be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program offered by a designated post-secondary school that runs for at least 12 weeks within a 15-week period;
  • pass a credit check if you are 22 or older and are applying for your first Canada Student Loan; and
  • not have exhausted your maximum lifetime limit for financial assistance (including interest-free status).

Note: To continue receiving student loans and grants each year you are in school, you must maintain satisfactory grades.


You must reapply for government aid every school year as the application is only in reference to a given academic year.

Establishing residency - which province to use for your application

The province to which you apply for aid is the one you:

  • have always resided in and from which you are now applying, or
  • the last province you resided in for 12 consecutive months without being a full-time post-secondary student

You should contact your province or territory if you do not meet the above criteria.

How to apply

You must re-apply for government aid every school year as the application is only in reference to a given academic year.

  • Full-time applications are available online through given provincial or territorial financial aid websites.
  • Part-time applications, depending on the province/territory, may be available online or in hard copy print.
  • Only one application is needed to be assessed for both provincial and federal aid. (The application includes your MSFAA agreement; more information is below.)

Submitting the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA)

This multi-year agreement is generated by your government aid application (release time varies provincially). It contains terms and conditions required to receive and repay student loans.

The agreement is valid for a 10-year period and you are not required to submit a new MSFAA unless there is a two-year break in study or an established residency in another province/territory.

How to submit the MSFAA

You must bring the completed document to a designated Canada Post office along with:

  1. A document proving that the Social Insurance Number (SIN) on your loan or grant authorization is yours, including:
    • your SIN card (permanent/temporary) or
    • an official Government of Canada document that has your SIN on it (e.g. a Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions or a Confirmation of Social Insurance Number from Service Canada)
  2. A valid photo ID issued in Canada by the federal, provincial or territorial government such as:
    • Canadian passport
    • permanent resident or citizenship card
    • valid driver's licence
    • valid provincial health card with photo
  3. A personal void check (or fill out your banking information on the MSFAA)

Learn more about the specific criteria regarding your MSFAA submission.

When to Apply

  • The application is generally available online every year beginning in the month of May. You should consult the website of your province or territory for exact dates
  • Apply as early as possible to ensure your student aid is assessed and ready by September 1


  • Most provinces: Applications (full and part-time) for government funding and all supporting documentation must be submitted to the province 6-8 weeks before the end of the study period as your application may be closed by the government student assistance office.
  • Ontario (OSAP):
    • Applications (full- and part-time) must be submitted no later than 60 days before the end of the study period
    • Supporting documentation can be submitted no later than 40 days before the end of the study period
    • Applications and documentation received after these deadlines will not be processed

Decision times

Upon receipt of all supporting documentation, the online application takes approximately 4-6 weeks to be assessed. Each missing document will increase the wait time accordingly.

You should monitor your online account regularly for updates regarding their application.

Payment times and methods

Once all the necessary documents, including the MSFAA, have been submitted and processed, the Scholarships and Student Aid Office confirms your enrolment.

Manitoba Students: you must provide a copy of your Notice of Assistance before the Scholarships and Student Aid Office can process your confirmation of enrolment.

The student funding will be released within 7-10 working days following the confirmation.

The NSLSC will disburse the funds in two instalments as follows:



Fall and Winter 60% in September and 40% in December
Fall, Winter and Summer 60% in September and 40% in March

You should check your online account for any government communication related to your application and ensure all necessary documents have been submitted to your government aid office.

Ontario (OSAP) students: Your aid will be paid into your bank account. McGill believes that you should determine how much of your aid you need to transfer to your fee account and how much you need to keep for your living costs.


Students may choose to appeal decisions rendered on their funding.

The appeal process and documents vary from province to province.

If you want to appeal the decision, you should:

  1. Contact your provincial or territorial financial aid office or refer to their website; then
  2. Contact the Scholarships and Student Aid Office to arrange an appointment with a Financial Aid Counsellor for further assistance.
Back to top