Government Aid Status (Out of Province)

Government aid status (i.e. full-time vs. part-time studies) varies according to province and can differ from criteria defined by educational institutions. Full-time and part-time government aid programs are considered separate entities; changes in status can directly impact student funding and repayments.

The Scholarships and Student Aid Office is the recognized authority at McGill to correspond with your government aid ministry. The SSAO confirms a student’s registration each semester; should the student status/registered credits change during the academic year we notify the ministry of the change. The ministry then reassesses your file, which may or may not impact the funding assessment.


Full-time vs. part-time

Full-time students

Full-time status: 60% or more of a full course load (i.e. 9 credits per semester or more) is considered full-time status.

  • Exception: Newfoundland and Labrador students are considered full-time (for the provincial portion of the funding) if they are registered in 80% or more of a full course load (i.e. 12 credits per semester or more).

Special, Visiting, Qualifying and Post-doctoral students should contact the SSAO for eligibility requirements.

Full-time internships/stages/practicums/co-ops might not be recognized. Please contact the SSAO to confirm eligibility. Two-credit internships or stages are not recognized as full-time.

Graduate students in a thesis program are considered full-time in each term they are registered.

Part-time students

A part-time course load is between 20% and 59% of a full-time course load.

Students with a permanent disability

Full-time status: 40% or more of a full course load (i.e. 6 credits per semester or more) is considered full-time. In all cases, the length of study should last for a period of at least 12 consecutive weeks.

  • Exception: Newfoundland and Labrador students with a permanent disability are considered full-time (for the provincial portion of the funding) if registered in 60% or more of a full course load (i.e. 9 credits per semester or more).

Part-time status: between 20% and 39% of a full course load is considered part-time. Students with permanent disabilities taking between 40% and 59% of a full-time course load can elect to be in a full-time or part-time status.

Tip: The Office for Students with Disabilities can help students with disabilities fill out their government aid application.

Withdrawing from or cancelling a course

Withdrawing from or cancelling a course could have an impact on a student’s funding assessment. Contact the student.aid [at] mcgill.ca (Scholarships and Student Aid Office) for more information.


Dependent vs. independent status

Dependent status

Dependent status applies to students who fulfil all these criteria:

  • not married or in a common-law relationship
  • not separated, divorced or widowed
  • not a sole-support parent
  • since leaving high school, have pursued a post-secondary education within four years or have not been employed in the labour force full-time for a minimum of two years

Independent status

Independent status applies if a student fulfils at least one of these criteria:

  • has been out of high school for at least four years
  • employed in the labour force full-time for a minimum of two years since leaving high school
  • is married or in a common-law relationship
  • is separated, divorced or widowed
  • has at least one dependent child of their own

Each province or territory may have additional specific criteria—students are encouraged to consult with their jurisdiction.


Parents of students

Although parents are not obliged to contribute to students’ post-secondary education, the amount that should be provided is one of the factors used to assess students’ eligibility for a Canada Student Loan.

Canada Student Loans need assessment tables will help parents determine whether their child will be eligible to obtain a government-funded student loan.


Payment estimators

Ontario (OSAP): You can use the OSAP Aid estimator to get an idea of costs. Attending McGill will make no difference in your assessment—you will get the same amount of OSAP aid by coming to McGill as you would if you were to go to a university in Ontario.

Other provinces: Check out CanLearn’s Student Financial Assistance Estimator to get an idea of the amount of government aid you could receive.

The amounts calculated by these estimators do not represent the final assessment and may vary substantially from the amount you end up receiving.