Student Financial Planning Guide

Download PDF version of the Student Financial Planning Guide


Government Financial Aid

Canada Student Loans

Financial assistance is available through the Canadian and provincial government student loan programs for eligible full-time students (those taking 60% or more of a full course load), who are Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. The Government of Canada works in partnership with most provinces and territories to deliver student financial assistance programs. The exceptions are Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut which operate their own student financial assistance programs. Students must apply for loans through the province in which they have established residency. The maximum Canada Student Loan is $300 per week of study. Example: for a 34-week program, the maximum is $10,200 ($300 x 34).

Manitoba Student Loans

These provincially subsidized loans are interest-free while you are a full-time student and for six months after your studies end. You must begin repayment of the loan six months after you cease to be a full-time student. The maximum Manitoba Student Loan is $200 per week of study. For a 34-week program, the maximum is $6,800 ($200 x 34).

When you qualify for a Canada Student Loan, you are automatically assessed for the Canada Student Grant. All federal grants have been combined into the Canada Student Grant to provide more effective support for students and to better assist Canadian families who struggle with the cost of higher education. The new grant will be paid through all years of a university undergraduate education. Students from low- and middle-income families will qualify based on clearly defined income levels. The new program will provide $250 each month in grants for students from low- income families and $100 a month for students from middle-income families. Because this grant is predictable, you will be better able to plan and pay for your post-secondary education. Grants do not require repayment.

Complimentary grants will be available for students with permanent disabilities and students with dependents. Low- income students with dependents will receive an improved grant that will provide more money up front ($200 per month for each dependent under 12). Students with a permanent disability will continue to receive grant assistance similar to the Canada Access Grants and Canada Study Grants they received in the past. A separate application is required only for the Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities.

Part-time students are also eligible for student loans. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled in a course load of between 20 and 60 percent of a full course load. Repayment begins six months after graduation. You are not required to make loan payments while you are studying but interest will accumulated on your loan during this time.

Student loans must be repaid at interest rates established by the government through the National Students Loan Service Centre, starting six months after the borrower ceases to be a full-time student. These federally subsidized loans are interest-free while you are a full-time student. Interest begins to accumulate once you cease to be a full-time student. Students who are actively seeking work but are unemployed at the end of the six-month grace period may apply, through the National Student Loans Service Centre, for a Repayment Assistance Plan on their Canada Loans.

Links for student aid contacts:

US Student Aid

Awards and Financial Aid

Types of Loans

US students attending Brandon University may apply for the following loans:

  • Direct Loan
  • Parent Plus Loan
  • Private Loans – Please contact the Accounts Receivable office for more information
  • Veterans Affairs – Please contact the Accounts Receivable office for more information

If you are applying for any of the funds above, please complete and submit the Brandon University Loan Application for the session you plan on attending:

2023-24 Academic Year Application

Important Documents & Tax Information for US Direct Loan Lenders

Tuition Tax Receipts

As an eligible educational institution, we can only provide Canadian federal (T2202) tax receipts. If you are filing taxes in the US you can use the information on the T2202, along with other expenses. Some additional charges are eligible for US taxes such as student association fees and course material costs that are billed by the University. There may be other expenses that are eligible, therefore you should consult with the IRS or their website for further information.

FAFSA (Direct Loans) Overview

Before completing a federal loan (FAFSA) application, you will need to determine whether you are a dependent or independent applicant as this will establish which loan types and amounts you are eligible to borrow.

Definitions are below, but if your circumstances are unusual and you need advice, please email the US loans administrator, Karen Stewart,


For the purpose of federal aid, a student is considered independent if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The student is at least 24 years old by 31 December of the award year;
  • The student is an orphan or ward/dependent of the court, or was a ward/dependent of the court until they reached 18;
  • The student is a veteran of the US Armed Forces;
  • The student is working on a master’s or doctorate program at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed;
  • The student is married as of the date the FAFSA is completed;
  • The student has at least one child who receives more than half of their support from the student; and/or
  • The student has a dependent, other than a spouse or child, who lived with the student and receives more than half of their support from the student at the time the FAFSA is completed and through 30 June of the award year.

The student is considered dependent if they do not meet any of the above criteria for an independent student. 

Federal Loan Types

Who is eligible?
Direct Subsidized Loan

Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible undergraduate courses. Available to dependent and independent students who demonstrate financial need.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Most US citizens (or eligible non-citizens) on eligible undergraduate courses. Available to dependent and independent students. Not based on financial need.

Parent PLUS Loan

Parents (biological, adoptive, or in some cases, stepparent) or dependent undergraduate students on eligible courses. Both the parent and the student must be eligible for federal student aid. A credit check is required.

Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loan

Undergraduate Studies: 5.50% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and prior to July 1, 2024

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Undergraduate Studies: 5.5% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and prior to July 1, 2024

Graduate Studies: 7.05% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and prior to July 1, 2024

Parent PLUS Loan

8.05% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and prior to July 1, 2024

How do repayments work?
Direct Subsidized Loan

No interest or payments required as long as you are enrolled in an eligible course at least half time

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

No payments required as long as you are enrolled in an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while you are studying.

Parent PLUS Loan

No payments required as long as student is enrolled in an eligible course at least half-time. Interest accrues while you are studying.

When do repayments start?
Direct Subsidized Loan

Usually 6 months (known as the ‘grace period’) after your course finishes or you become less than half-time.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Usually 6 months (known as the ‘grace period’) after your course finishes or you become less than half-time.

Parent PLUS Loan

Repayment period begins on the date of the final disbursement. Unless you receive a deferment or forbearance, the first payment will be due within 60 days of the final disbursement date.

Release of FAFSA US Loan Funds:

  • Funds cannot be released to first-time borrowers until they have attended at least 30 days of school.
  • US loan funds are sent direct from the US Treasury to Brandon University in two installments – 50% at the start of the session and 50% at the mid-point of the session.
  • The funds are converted into Canadian dollars and applied directly to your student account. This process takes 1-2 weeks.
  • If a credit results on your student account after the required tuition fees are paid in full, you will receive a refund cheque in Canadian dollars. You can use these funds towards your living and books and supplies costs. The cheque issuing processing takes 2-4 weeks.
Fall/Winter Disbursement Example:

Fall term: 50% of your total US Direct Loan Funds are released. Returning Borrowers: Sept. 6, 2023. First-Time Borrowers: October 6, 2023.

  1. If a credit balance is on your account after Fall term fees have been paid in full, a refund cheque in Canadian dollars will be issued to you. You will be contacted once the refund cheque is available for pick up.
  2. Refund cheques for eligible returning borrowers will be available mid to late October approximately. For eligible first-time borrower, refund cheques will be available late October or early November approximately.

Winter term: The remaining 50% of your total US Direct Loan funds are released. All Borrowers: January 3, 2024.

  1. If a credit balance is on your account after Winter term fees have been paid in full, a refund cheque in Canadian dollars will be issued to you. You will be contacted once the refund cheque is available for pick up.
  2. Refund cheques for all eligible borrowers will be available early to mid-February approximately.

NOTE: You may not qualify for a refund each term.

Direct Loans


In addition to the criteria specified on Federal Student Aid website, you must also:

  • Be enrolled full-time (in at least 9 credit hours per term)
  • Make satisfactory academic progress during your program
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Not register in certificate, diploma, online courses or any nursing program

More information about these criteria is provided below.

  • You must remain enrolled in at least 9 credit hours per term at Brandon University.
  • If you suspend, withdraw or drop below 9 credit hours per term you must contact the Accounts Receivable office immediately.
Ineligible courses

There are restrictions on the University’s ability to offer federal loan funds to students in certain courses. Ineligible courses include those which are less than half-time, not degree-bearing, include any online element, or involve distance learning. Students taking ineligible courses may be eligible for private funding.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)

The University’s SAP policy applies to all students taking federal loans at Brandon University, specifically Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, Sallie Mae and Parent PLUS loans. It applies to all federal loan recipients, including undergraduates, part-time and full-time students. SAP is assessed as follows:

  • Qualitative standard (grades): Students must achieve minimum standards as required by the academic department and supervisor, equivalent to a 2.0 grade, and academic standing consistent with graduation requirements.
  • Quantitative standard (pace): Student must progress through their courses at a pace which ensures that they will graduate within the maximum timeframe. The maximum timeframe for completion is 150% of the standard, published timeframe for a course, e.g. 4.5 years for a 3 year BA/BSc, and 6 years for a 4 year BA/BSc. Students must be studying full-time in order to be eligible for federal loans.

Loan Types

Financial need-based loans
  • Subsidized loans, which do not accrue interest while you are in school at least half-time or during deferment periods. The amount is determined by annual loan limits and the loan calculation: cost of attendance minus estimated financial contribution and financial aid received.
Non-financial need-based loans
  • Unsubsidized loans – low cost, fixed-rate federal student loans.
  • Parent PLUS loans – parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow the Parent PLUS Loan to help their children pay for college or career school. The Parent PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate and flexible loan limits. NOTE: If the parent of a dependent undergraduate is denied a PLUS loan, the student is eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan amount.

Loan Amounts & Limits

The US Direct Loan Program has annual as well as lifetime loan limits that vary according to a student’s:

  • Grade level
  • Status (dependent or independent)
  • Loan type: need-based (subsidized) or non-need based (unsubsidized and PLUS)
  • Cost of attendance (student cannot borrow more than this amount)
Annual Loan Limits:
1st-year undergraduate

Dependent student                                        $5,500 (max. $3,500 subsidized)

Independent student                                    $9,500 (max. $3,500 subsidized)


2nd-year undergraduate

Dependent student                                        $6,500 (max. $4,500 subsidized)

Independent student                                    $10,500 (max. $4,500 subsidized)


3rd and 4th-year undergraduate

Dependent students                                      $7,500 (max. $5,500 subsidized)

Independent students                                  $12,500 (max $5,500 subsidized)


Lifetime limits for US Direct Loans

Grade Level/Status
Dependent Undergraduate Student

Aggregate (lifetime) Loan Limits               $31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)

Independent Undergraduate or Dependent Undergraduate whose parent is ineligible for PLUS

Aggregate (lifetime) Loan Limits               $57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized)

How to Apply

The application process and documentation required varies according to the type of US government loan you are applying for.

Applying for a Direct Loan:

  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year.
  2. E-sign a Master Promissory Note MPN
  3. Complete the BU application for the US Loans.
    1. 2023-24 Academic Year Application
  4. First time student borrowers of Direct Loans must complete Entrance Counseling. If Entrance Counseling is not completed, loans are not disbursed.

Parent PLUS Loans

  • The US Department of Education is your loan lender.
  • You must not have an adverse credit history.
  • The maximum loan amount you are eligible for is the cost of attendance (determined by Brandon University Accounts Receivable office) minus any other financial aid received.
How do I apply?
Payments and Funding
  • The interest rate for the Parent PLUS loan is 6.28% . There is a loan fee on all Direct PLUS Loans. The fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The percentage varies depending on when the loan is first disbursed,
  • Funds are disbursed to the Accounts Receivable office and are used to pay outstanding tuition and fees costs. Any extra funds are provided to you for additional education expenses, such as living costs and books and supplies.
  • Once your funds have been disbursed to the Accounts Receivable office, you will be contacted by your loan servicer. You will generally be required to begin payments once your loan has been disbursed.
  • Information on repayment plans found on the FAFSA website here.
How to complete a Parent PLUS Loan
  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable academic year.
  2. Complete a loan application to authorize a credit check and E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at

Credit Checks: should Direct PLUS loan credit check be denied due to adverse credit history, the borrower may:

  • secure an approved endorser (who must pass the credit check), or
  • appeal the decision based on extenuating circumstances

In either of the above cases, the PLUS loan applicant (not the endorser) will be required to complete PLUS Counseling. This is not the same as Entrance Counseling.

Contact the Accounts Receivable office at Brandon University.

270 18th Street

Brandon, MB Canada

R7A 6A9

P: 204.727.7482

Student Lines of Credit

Most financial institutions offer student lines of credit as well as other banking options for students enrolled in full- time programs. Available amounts are based on individual approved credit limits with monthly interest-only pay- ments required while attending school. Amounts vary at each institution.

CIBC offers financial solutions for students through their CIBC Advantage® for Students program. The Bank of Montreal’s Student Six Pack® program is a suite of products and services designed to meet the financial needs of post-secondary school students which includes a student line of credit. The Royal Bank offers a Royal Credit Line® for Students as well as other student banking options. TD Canada Trust and Scotiabank also offer banking solutions for students.

Brandon University Scholarships & Bursaries

Brandon University offers a variety of scholarships and bursaries each year. Scholarships are awarded to recognize students’ achievements, are based on academic achievement and are used to attract the best students to Brandon Uni- versity. Bursaries help students with demonstrated financial need to reach their full potential and become Brandon University’s best students. Academic achievement may also be considered in awarding bursaries.

The awarding of scholarships and/or bursaries is contingent upon attendance at Brandon University during the regu- lar session. Unless otherwise stated in the terms of reference of the award, students will be required to be registered in a minimum of 24 credit hours in the regular session to retain the scholarship. The student must also have a cumu- lative grade point average of not less than 2.5 to receive a scholarship and not less than 2.0 to receive a bursary. Brandon University scholarships and bursaries are approved and awarded by the Senate Scholarship committee. Questions should be directed to the Scholarship Office at 727-9737.

Other organizations and institutions may also have awards available to Brandon University students. A starting point for finding out about these possibilities is suggested below.

External Scholarships & Bursaries (

To assist with your search for external funding, provides a unique service that matches awards with eligible candidates and institutions. Membership is free, and you can choose to receive updates of new awards via email. (

This is a site where students can learn about career and educational opportunities. The site also features a custom search for students looking for scholarships that suit their personal profile.

Scholarships Canada (

This site is a comprehensive scholarship portal that includes a database of scholarships, student awards, bursaries and grants, as well as information about student loans, applications and budget planning.

Other Options

Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)


The LLP allows eligible students to withdraw up to $10,000 per year, tax free, (up to $20,000 over a four-year pe- riod) from their RRSP. Withdrawals are repayable over 10-years.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)


RESPs (registered education savings plans) permit savings to grow tax-free until the beneficiary is ready to enrol full- time into a qualified post-secondary institution. Contributions to all RESPs are subject to a lifetime maximum of $42,000. An RESP also allows you to apply for the Canadian Education Savings Grant.

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)


The CESG is a grant from the Government of Canada paid directly into a beneficiary’s RESP to a limit of $7,200.

Canada Learning Bond- CLB


The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is a grant offered by the Government of Canada to help parents, friends, and family members save early for the post-secondary education of children in modest-income families. The Can- ada Learning Bond is available to children who meet specific criteria outlined by the Canada Education Savings Program. The Government of Canada will make a one-time payment of $500 into the RESP of children who qualify for the Canada Learning Bond and a $100 deposit each subsequent year the child’s primary care- giver receives the National child Benefit Supplement, to a maximum of $2,000.

The Canada WorkInfo Net


This site provides links to a variety of web sites with financial aid resources and educational funding.

WCB and Retraining


Some individuals may qualify for assistance from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). The WCB may help with rehabilitation, retraining and educational upgrading.

Payment Plans

Subject to credit approval by Financial & Registration Services, payment plans are available in limited circum- stances. To arrange a payment schedule proof the student has the financial capacity to make payments will be required. The initial payment must be at least 50% of the amount owing and the remaining balance must be paid 10 days prior to the exam period. Failure to meet the payment schedule will result in registration cancellation.

Emergency Funding

JRC Evans Emergency Loan

This loan is for short term financial assistance and is not available for payment of tuition or books. It is a source of last resort financial assistance to meet an emergency situation related to a student’s academic pursuits. The term of the loan is a maximum of six months or until graduation, whichever comes first. This loan is only available to full time students. As a loan, it requires a co-signer who is not a student. The maximum amount available is $600.

SUSA Grants

Student Undergraduate Supplementary Assistance Grants are available on a one-time basis to full time students. Similar to the JRC Evans loan this is for short term financial assistance and is not available for the payment of tuition or books. The maximum amount available is typically $800.

Tax Planning

Tax Credits

Although tax may not be top in the mind of many students during their educational careers, it is important to under- stand how to minimize tax bills, maximize refundable tax credits, take advantage of tax planning opportunities, and fulfill compliance responsibilities. The Canadian tax system provides a number of incentives to reduce the cost of post-secondary education to students or sometimes a supporting person.

The three main incentives that may be available to students are the tuition tax credit, the education tax credit and the textbook tax credit. Tax form T2202A reports eligible tuition paid and months enrolled.

The amount of the education credit differs depending on whether the student is a full-time or part-time student in any given month. The education credit for a full-time student is $400 multiplied by the number of months in the year during which the individual was enrolled in a qualifying educational program as a full-time student at a designated educational institution. The part-time credit is $120 multiplied by the number of months in the year which the indi- vidual was enrolled.

If you are eligible to claim the education amount you can also claim an amount for textbooks. The claim is $65 for each month you qualify for the full-time education amount; and $20 for each month you qualify for the part-time education amount. A student may be able to transfer unused tuition, education and textbook credits to a parent, grandparent or spouse. Unused credits can also be carried forward to be used when the student does not have suffi- cient tax credits to reduce income to zero.

The full amount of scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries that are received by a student with respect to enrolment in a program that entitles them to claim the education amount is not taxable and is no longer reported as income on a tax return.

Other Tax Related Considerations

Students may also be eligible for the following tax credits: interest paid on student loans, purchases of public transit passes, and moving expenses.

You should consult a professional tax advisor for advice on your particular circumstances.