The Canada Student Loans program defines a student's province of residence for the purposes of full-time assistance as the last province lived in for 12 consecutive months as a non full-time student or, if the student has immigrated within the last year, the province in which they landed.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who do not qualify as residents of BC may apply for full-time government loans and grants through the province of which they are considered to be residents. If the student's chosen program of study is available at institutions in their province of residence, the student may not be eligible for provincial loans and grants through some provinces while studying in BC.
Six key steps to apply
- Read the following section about StudentAid BC. Make sure that self-paced study and highly structured full-time loans will work for you.
- Select your study period from one of 12 possible terms.
- Apply to StudentAidBC. Keep a copy of your application number and your pass code.
- Register with Open Learning by the registration deadline:
a) Online, with a credit card
b) By phone, with a credit card, at 1.800.663.9711 (toll-free in Canada)
c) By submitting a paper Full-Time Fee Deferral Application
- Mail, scan and email or fax the Study Contract to Student Awards and Financial Support after selecting a study period and signing it.
- Wait a minimum of four weeks after submitting your application to receive notice of your funding.
Distance education terms for Student Loans & Grants
|Term||Start Date||End Date|
|September||September 1||December 31|
|October||October 1||January 30|
|November||November 1||February 28|
|December||December 1||March 31|
|January||January 1||April 30|
|February||February 1||May 31|
|March||March 1||June 30|
|April||April 1||July 31|
|May||May 1||August 31|
|June||June 1||September 30|
|July||July 1||October 31|
|August||August 1||November 30|
The late deadline for registration online (by credit card) is the 10th day of each month. The deadline for registration using a fee deferral is the day prior to the start of the study period (except the deadline for January is Dec 20th)
How to check your application status
Have or social insurance number and application number handy.
Online at StudentAidBC.
From Vancouver, phone 604-660-2610
From Victoria, phone 250-387-6100
From elsewhere in BC, phone 1-800-561-1818
Contact Student Awards and Financial Support at 1-800-663-9711 Ext. 4 (toll-free in Canada) if you have questions about using student loans at Open Learning or have general questions about financial aid.
This program provides Canada Student Loans and BC Student Loans to BC residents who demonstrate financial need and who are enrolled full-time in post-secondary programs.
The maximum award for both educational and living costs is $320 per week for eligible students without dependents and $510 per week for eligible students with dependents.
To be considered a full-time student in the program, it is necessary to register in and complete a minimum course load of nine new credits per four-month loan period. (Repeat registrations can be used only when no assignments were passed in the previous registration.)
For distance education students, this is a shorter completion schedule than Open Learning imposes. This can be a challenge for students unfamiliar with studying at home and it is recommended that new Open Learning students begin with part-time study or that they familiarize themselves with the new method of study before taking out loans. Information about taking distance courses is provided on this website to help students start and continue successfully as distance learners.
Much of the flexibility of Open Learning is lost when applying for full-time government student loans.
There are 12 distance education loan periods, each four months long, which start the first of each month. Students are required to register in a full-time course load within the month prior to the start date of each period (e.g., register in August for the September term). Late phone and web registrations are permitted up to the 10th day of each month after the term start date.
Any continuous-entry registrations received after the final deadline on the 10th day of the month can only be applied to the following term (e.g., a January 1 registration can be applied only to the February loan term).
All students receiving student loans or grants are required to sign a Study Contract.
After registration, full-time status for distance courses is maintained by submitting assignments each month and submitting all coursework during the loan period in nine credits (the minimum required for full-time status). Loan documents and grants are not released past the study period midpoint without sufficient academic progress.
Final examinations may be written in the month following the loan period (e.g., examinations may be written in May for a January to April loan).
Failure to submit assignments on a regular schedule throughout the loan period or failure to submit all coursework by the end of the loan period, may be regarded as a "technical" withdrawal from full-time study even though a student does not formally withdraw.
This may result in a portion of the loan being placed in "over award" and becoming immediately repayable ("over award" portions of a grant are retroactively converted to an interest-bearing loan).
Eligibility for further funds, interest-free status and other privileges associated with full-time status may be affected.
Students enrolled in full-time studies who are not negotiating a new Canada Student Loan or BC Student Loan should contact Student Awards and Financial Support for information about keeping their existing loans in interest-fee status.
Full-time Single Parents Bursary Endowment Fund
Established by the CKNW Orphans' Fund, this endowment provides funding to students in distance courses who are single parents, have received the maximum student loan amount and still have "unmet need." Applicants must be returning students and have successfully completed their last full-time term through TRU.
» Application Form
Emergency Bridging Loans
This fund is used to provide short-term bridging loans to full-time students who incur unforeseen delays in their financing (normally student loans). Loans of up to $700, interest-free, are provided for a period of up to 60 days, provided the pending financing is guaranteed and assignable (e.g., an approved student loan). These loans cannot be issued prior to the first day of a student's study period.
» Application Form
Government of Canada's Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)
Canadian residents and/or their spouses can withdraw up to $10,000 per year from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to finance full-time studies at post-secondary institutions including Open Learning.
» Canada Revenue Agency.
Other sources of assistance
There are other private bursaries and scholarships available to students attending BC's post-secondary institutions; most of these are available to students registered in Open Learning courses. Application procedures for these awards vary, and most have restrictions and conditions imposed on them. Examples: ScholarshipsCanada, yconic and Universities Canada.
Annual awards and bursaries
Rosemary Keene Zonta Club Bursary Endowment Fund
Established by the Zonta Club of Vancouver in memory of Rosemary Keene, this endowment provides annual bursaries to students pursuing a first credential in business and administrative studies or science and technology through Open Learning. Awards are made once a year. Applicants for Part-time Student Assistance are considered for this bursary. No other application is necessary.
Donald Weir Scholarship in Literature
One award of one free course is made annually to the student(s) achieving the highest standing in any of the 400-level Open Learning English courses. Recipients are pursuing a Open Learning Bachelor of Arts degree with either a major or a concentration in English and have completed a minimum of 12 Open Learning credits. No application is required.
Scholarships for students from Caribbean countries
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) in partnership with Canadian Virtual University offer scholarships to students from the Caribbean region for the Certificate in Information Technology offered through Open Learning.
Scholarships for online programs allow international students to remain in their home countries while completing Canadian university courses. All courses are delivered online or through print materials sent in the mail.
Information on eligibility is available from the Canadian Virtual University website.
Cameron Beddome Endowment Award
The Cameron Beddome Endowment Fund has been established by family, friends, Thompson Rivers University employees and community partners in memory of Cameron Beddome, Chief Recruitment Officer for Open Learning (2007-2011). Cameron died tragically in an automobile accident in December 2011.
Cameron believed in the principles of Open Learning and displayed his dedication to helping all those who took up the challenge of bettering their personal and professional lives through education. Through his leadership, professionalism and compassion Cameron exemplified the very best attributes of Open Learning.
The Cameron Beddome Endowment award is given annually to an Open Learning program student who has successfully completed a minimum of one Open Learning course in the last two years. The award is to be used for further enrolment. Candidates are asked to submit a short essay (maximum 250 words) describing how the award will help them achieve their personal and professional educational development goals. The essays are adjudicated by a panel and the winner(s) are announced in mid-October of each year.
Interested award applicants can email OLfinaid@tru.ca and list "Cameron Beddome Endowment Award" in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed annually after the third Friday of September.