Frequently Asked Questions

Student Loans
UNBC Scholars
 
Awards
Q. How do I apply for awards?

Applications for UNBC awards are made through your student account by clicking on the ‘Awards and Financial Aid’ and ‘Award Application’ links.  Choose which type of application you are making (ie. Entrance, General, Undergraduate etc) and follow through the application process. Ensure you have completed all sections of the application and agree to the terms and conditions in the Declaration section on the last page.  You will only need to submit ONE application for each type of award.  *Any supporting documentation MUST be submitted to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit (located within the UNBC Office of the Registrar on Student Services Street) before the appropriate deadline*

Q. What marks are awards and scholarships based on?

For undergraduate students, all awards, scholarships and bursaries offered through UNBC are based on your previous year’s status, hours and GPA.  For graduate students, awards are based on your cumulative GPA and hours for your graduate program.  If you were a part-time student as of March 1st, the award deadline, you will only be eligible for the part-time awards; regardless of whether you are attending full-time in the next academic year.

Q. How do I fill out the Financial Need Section of the Awards Application?

You can use the information available at the "Financing Your University Education" area to find estimated amounts for tuition and student fee costs, books, and living expenses.  The information you provide in this section is just an estimate used by the Awards & Financial Aid Unit to assess what your overall need is so it can be your best guess.

Q. If letters of reference are required who should do them and how should they be submitted?

Letters of reference should be written by someone who is not related to the applicant, and who can speak to the applicant's leadership, community, academic strengths.  Letters of reference must be submitted to the Awards & Financial Aid Unit in sealed envelopes with the referee's signature on the inner letter and across the envelope seal, or may be emailed directly from the referee to awards@unbc.ca.  The same letters of reference can be used for all awards requiring them within the same award competition/year (reference letters more than one year old are NOT carried over to the next award competition).

Q. When and how are awards disbursed?

All awards are offered to students via an offer letter and acceptance form in approximately May or June.  The acceptance form must be completed and returned to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit in order to receive your award.  The first half of the award will be deposited to your UNBC student account during the last week in August, before the start of the September Semester, and the remaining half will be deposited to your UNBC student account during the last week in December, before the start of the January Semester. Graduate Entrance Awards are disbursed on a monthly basis.

Q. Do I need to be registered full-time to receive my award?

Yes. Undergraduate students MUST be registered in at least 9 credit hours per semester in order to receive the award (unless you are receiving a ‘part-time’ studies award).  Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours or a thesis/project to be considered full-time and to receive the award. The Awards & Financial Aid Unit will check your registration status to confirm full-time enrolment up until the last add/drop date.  Once this date has passed, you will not receive your award if you are not registered full-time.

Q. Can I have my award deferred if I am not attending in the semesters it is applicable for?

1. Continuing Students can request a deferral for their awards for up to one semester if they are taking a leave of absence from classes. 
2. New Undergraduate Students may request a deferral for up to one semester.  If they do not plan to attend UNBC in the academic year that the award is offered, they must reapply for awards if they choose to attend UNBC in a future academic year.
3. New Graduate Students will be granted a deferral only if they have been granted a deferral of their admission from the Admissions Office.
Deferral requests must be made in writing and addressed to the Awards and Financial Aid Coordinator.  Requests can be sent to awards@unbc.ca or submitted to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit (within the Office of the Registrar on Student Services Street).  Deferral policies are not subject to appeal.

Q. If I have enough credits to graduate after completing the fall semester, do I still only receive half of my award if it is unnecessary for me to attend the winter semester?

If a student will be graduating after completing the September Semester (and not attending classes in the January Semester) the student can request in writing that they be paid the full amount of their award in the September Semester.  These requests need to be submitted via awards@unbc.ca or to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit (within the Office of the Registrar on Student Services Street). Once we have validated that the student has enough credits to graduate, the full amount will be deposited to their student account.
 
Q. Is there a maximum amount of award funding students can reach?

Yes, the Undergraduate award ceiling is $10,000 per academic year and the Graduate award ceiling is $15,000 per academic year (these do not include external awards – the ceiling applies to UNBC awards only)

Q. If I did not receive an award through UNBC, or I have reached my awards ceiling for the year, are there other awards I can apply for?

Our office maintains a list of external funding opportunities you can apply for to try and reduce financial burden while attending school.  To see the list of external awards, please click here. (As stated previously, these external awards are not applicable to the UNBC awards ceiling.)
 

Student Loans

Q. How Much Will Financing My University Education Cost?

You can find useful information the "Financing Your University Education" area to find estimated amounts.

Q. How long does a student loan application take and when can I expect my funding?

An electronic application directly through StudentAidBC (SABC) usually takes 4-6 weeks to process. The recommended application deadline is July 1st for the upcoming academic year.  Once the applicant has been informed of their assessment by SABC and they receive the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) paperwork, they must sign and return the MSFAA to the National Student Loan Service Centre - NSLSC) to accept the student loan.  Student loan funds are normally disbursed to the student's personal bank account by the NSLSC on the first day of classes each semester once the University confirms the student's enrolment (students must be registered in 9 credit hours per semester for undergraduate students, and 6 credit hours for graduate students, for full-time student loan funding).  It can then take 3-4 business days for NSLSC to receive confirmation of enrolment and disburse funds via EFT to student bank accounts.  If the University confirms a student's enrolment in advance of the semester's start, then the University can automatically defer the student's tuition/fee payment until the student loan funding is deposited into the student's bank account - HOWEVER, if a student applies late for an SABC student loan and confirmation of enrolment is not done in advance of the first day of classes - the student will need to make financial arrangements for a promise to pay via the UNBC Finance Department.

Q. If I withdraw from a class will it affect my student loan funding?

Yes. Students must maintain a full-time enrolment status in order to keep their student loans.  If you drop below the minimum requirement for full-time, you will be considered to be in an ‘overaward’ status and will incur penalties from the loan agency you are receiving funding from.  The minimum requirement for full-time status for undergraduate students is 9 credit hours per semester and the minimum requirement for full-time status for graduate students is 6 credit hours semester or enrolment in a thesis/project.  If you are receiving student loan funding, please consult with the UNBC Awards and Financial Aid office prior to withdrawing from classes to ensure you do not incur any penalties.

Q. If I am taking a class online and only two classes at UNBC, will I still be eligible for student loan funding?

Yes, only if you have obtained a letter of permission for the course from the UNBC Advising Office and the course is for credit toward your degree. This is considered a ‘split enrolment’.  It is important to provide the Awards and Financial Aid Unit with a copy of your registration/receipt for your class online so that your credits are entered appropriately and your full-time status can be verified by our office when student loan agencies request confirmation of enrolment.
 
Q. How do I notify the student loan centres that I am currently in school to ensure my loans are in interest-free status and so I do not have to pay back my loan while in school?

If you have a loan from BC you can now apply online if you are enrolled in full-time studies and your current loans are in good standing.  Go to: www.studentaidbc.ca,  Click on the ”Maintain your loan" tab and choose "Maintain Interest-free Status" from the drop down menu.   Complete all information and submit.  This will update interest-free status for both BC and National Student Loans.

If you hold loans from a different province or if you only hold loans from Canada Student Loans, please visit the UNBC Financial Aid Unit for information on how to apply for interest-free status for your province.

Q. Where do I find out about Repaying My Student Loan?

You can sign up for a webinar given by the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) to find out what happens when you finish having student loans and need to start repaying them.  This free webinar is a great way to find out about the different repayment options available and to ask any questions you may have during the webinar.  Click on the following link to sign up for a webinar:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9091886205345409794

UNBC Scholars

Q. Will I lose my scholarship if I take less than 15 credit hours (5 classes) in the Fall and Winter semesters?

As of the 2017-2018 Academic Year the credit hour/requirements for the UNBC Scholars Award have changed, the change applies to all previous and current UNBC Scholars Award holders.  You must now take a minimum of 12 credit hours in the September Semester and take a minimum of 12 credit hours in the January Semester, for a total of 24 credit hours.  If you wish to take more than the minimum that is fine, or you can take some courses during the May Semester, but you must take at least 12 credit hours in each of the two main semesters.

Q. If I am taking a class required for my degree at a different institution, will UNBC still pay for this class if I am a UNBC Scholar?

For collaborative programs only: Nursing, Environmental Engineering and Fine Arts.  You must provide the UNBC Awards and Financial Aid Unit with a copy of your registration and receipt for the class.  We will then send payment for your tuition to the institution.