Your financial need


StudentAid BC funding varies according to your financial situation, status, length of study program, number of dependants and other factors.

The amount of money you receive from StudentAid BC depends on your financial need, which is calculated using this formula:

Educational costs
- Student Resources
= Financial need

We subtract your total resources from your total educational costs to calculate your assessed financial need.

Your assessed need is then compared with the maximum weekly funding limit allowed for your study period. The lesser of these two amounts is what you are eligible to receive.


Student Living Allowances

The monthly student living allowances for each category of student are intended to cover costs for shelter, food, local transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. They are standard allowances for a moderate standard of living established by the federal government. The allowances vary based on a student's living situation and the province or territory where they will be studying.

The 2017/18 allowances for students residing in B.C. are below. Allowances for other living situations can be found in the SABC Policy Manual.

2017/18 Living Allowances for Students residing in B.C. Monthly Weekly
Single student away from home $1,564 $364
Single student living at home $658 $153
Single parent (add child allowance x number of dependants) $1,920 $447
Married student/spouse (add child allowance x number of dependants) $2,936 $683
Child allowance $681 $158


Note: These allowances are used to calculate your financial need and may not be the monthly amounts you will receive. The amount of student financial assistance available to you is determined by your assessed need, whether you have dependants, the length of your study period and the maximum amounts set by the Canada Student Loan Program and by StudentAid BC.


Educational costs:

  • tuition, fees, books and school supplies
  • moderate standard of living allowance for shelter, food, transportation and miscellaneous costs
  • child/dependant living expenses
  • day-care expenses

Student resources:

You are expected to contribute as much as possible to the cost of your own post-secondary education. The more you contribute from your own resources, the less you will have to borrow and repay.

What you are expected to contribute

The financial contribution expected from you will depend on the total family income declared on your previous year’s income tax submission to the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as other resources you may have that can be applied to your education costs.

You are expected to contribute to your education costs. A fixed contribution amount is calculated based on your prior year family income; other resources you have that are targeted toward your education costs, such as scholarships and other funding sources, are considered as well.

If you are classified as a dependent student, StudentAid BC may also expect a parental contribution from your parent(s), step-parent, or legal guardian based on the total family income declared on their previous year’s income tax submission to the Canada Revenue Agency.

If you are married or living common-law, a spouse/partner contribution may also be expected based on their total family income declared on their previous year’s income tax submission to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Federal government policy states that "parents are expected to plan for and make adequate financial preparation in anticipation of the student's post-secondary education. It is expected that the funding of the student's education will be a priority for the family. Situations that arise due to a lack of preparation or due to the directing of resources towards priorities other than the student's education will not normally be considered."

What your parents are expected to contribute

If you are an Independent student, no parental contribution is expected. However, if you are receiving money voluntarily given to you by your parents, declare this on your loan application.

If you are a Dependent student, a financial contribution may be expected from your parent(s), step-parent, or legal guardian based on the total family income declared on their previous year’s income tax submission to the Canada Revenue Agency. StudentAid BC will assess the amount based on family size, income and allowable deductions (such as income taxes payable, Canada Pension Plan contributions and employment insurance contributions).

Your parents' financial assets (term deposits, stocks, bonds, GICs, bank accounts and rental properties) will also be considered in the assessment.

Because the assessment process is complex, you are encouraged to contact us if you need more information about expected parental contributions.

If you are married or living common-law, your spouse or partner may be expected to make a financial contribution toward your education while you are attending post-secondary school.

If your spouse/partner is also attending school full-time, or is in receipt of employment insurance (EI), social assistance, or disability benefits, no contribution is expected.

Your spouse/partner may be expected to contribute to your education costs as well, and a fixed contribution amount will be calculated based on their prior year total income.

There are many sources of funding to finance your post-secondary education. They include:

  • Scholarships, grants and awards administered by StudentAid BC.
  • Other scholarships, bursaries and awards - check with your school for upcoming opportunities and deadlines.
  • Direct loans from banks and credit unions.
  • Financial support from community organizations and service clubs.
  • Part-time employment.
  • Family resources.
  • For more information visit the explore funding options section.
Contact Us
Toll-free Canada/US
1-800-561-1818
Outside North America
+ 1-250-387-6100