COVID-19 Response Information


Updated November 19, 2020

StudentAid BC is responding to COVID-19 by providing emergency student financial assistance, adapting policy and streamlining processes to support students, borrowers and post-secondary institutions.

For public health and safety guidance on COVID-19, please visit the B.C Government page: Post-secondary studies during COVID-19.

If you are in need of mental health support, please visit Here2Talk.ca which provides free, confidential counselling and community referral services, available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

Updated May 14, 2020

Students studying at B.C. public post-secondary institutions:

  • British Columbia has provided a total of $3.5 million in emergency student financial assistance for eligible students studying at B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions.
  • An additional $1.5 million has been provided to supplement Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund which is available through all 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C, as well as Native Education College.
  • Students seeking access to emergency assistance funding should contact their school’s financial aid office to complete an application.

Students studying at B.C. public, private and out-of-province post-secondary institutions:

  • May be eligible for federal and provincial emergency benefits.
  • May find more details on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including:
    • the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
    • the new Canada Emergency Student Benefit ($1,250 per month, from May to August 2020, or $2,000 per month for students with dependents or disabilities), to provide financial support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the CERB;
    • the new Canada Student Service Grant (up to $5,000 towards education in the fall) to help students who volunteer within community or do national service during the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • and changes announced to the Canada Summer Jobs Program to help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians with access to summer employment.
    • students do not need to declare these benefits as targeted resources on their StudentAid BC applications for student financial assistance.

Updated May 6, 2020

Government of Canada Supports:

To help students continue their studies in the fall, the Government of Canada will:

  • double Canada Student Grants for full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.
  • for the 2020-2021 school year, students will not be required to make their fixed student contribution; no spousal contribution would be required either.
  • for the 2020-2021 school year, the Canada Student Loan weekly loan limit will increase from $210 to $350.

Government of British Columbia Supports:

  • The Province remains concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on students’ ability to continue studies. We are working to further identify the best actions to support B.C. students facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Updated October 1, 2020

Restarting your Student Loan Payments:

As a measure to support borrowers impacted by COVID-19, student loan repayments were temporarily suspended from March 30 to September 30, 2020. During this time interest did not accrue on the federal portion of your Canada-B.C. integrated student loan.

Your regular monthly payments will resume in October 2020 and federal interest will begin to accrue on October 1, 2020.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below for more details on restarting your student loan payments.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do I need to do to restart repaying my student loan?

  • If you are registered for pre-authorized debit, they will automatically resume in October 2020. We recommend logging in to your secure National Service Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) account to make sure that your banking information is up to date.
  • If you were making payments by cheque or other means, you are now required to make payments.
  • If you use automatic loan payments through your bank, you need to resume these payments.

What if I am still in school studying full-time?

If you are studying full-time there are two potential scenarios that may apply to you:

  1. 1 If you have applied for, and are receiving student financial aid, you must inform the NSLSC that you are still studying full-time by having your school complete a Confirmation of Enrollment. This will set your status in to ‘In-Study’ and no payments will be due and federal interest will not accrue.
  2. 2 If you have not applied for additional student financial aid, then you need to advise the NSLSC through your account so that they know you are still studying. If you do not do this the NSLSC will send you a loan repayment package and the federal government will commence charging you interest on your federal loan on the first day of the seventh month after your last study end period.

What if I am still in school studying part-time?

You are required to start repaying your loan and federal interest will accrue.

What if I am in my six-month non-repayment period?

Payments are not required during the non-repayment period. If your non-repayment period ended during the suspension period, payments were automatically suspended until September 30 and you will resume repaying your loan in October 2020.

What if I am already repaying my loan?

  • If your loan is in good standing, i.e. your regular payments are up-to-date, your payments were automatically suspended until September 30 and you are required to resume repaying your loan in October 2020.
  • If your loan is in arrears, i.e. you have missed one or more payments, your payments were automatically suspended until September 30. You are required to resume repaying your loan in October 2020, and it will be in the same arrears situation it was on March 30. For example, if you were two months behind in your payments in March, you will still be considered two months behind in October.
  • If you are on the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), the National Service Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) sent you an email to let you know how your RAP period was affected. If you have not received this message, you should contact the NSLSC.
  • If you are already in repayment and require more information, please contact the National Student Loans Services Centre.

If you think you may need continued support on your payments, please visit Get help with Repayment.

Updated July 6, 2020

StudentAid BC has made the following process changes to support continued delivery of service:

Correspondence and Document Submission Changes:

  • To ensure timely document processing, please submit documents and correspondence though your StudentAid BC dashboard account or submit by email to StudentAidBC@gov.bc.ca (excluding those requiring an ink signature).
  • At this time, an exception has been made to accept Part-Time Applications via document upload or email.

Changes to Support Online Study and Program Eligibility Administration:

  • For Program Year 2019/20 (ending July 31, 2020), existing private or out-of-province post-secondary institution programs moving from on site to online delivery do not require a Confirmation of Distance Education Eligibility (CODEE) form. Institutions do not need to notify SABC of these changes but must ensure compliance with their regulator.
  • Private or out-of-province post-secondary institution online programs submitted for the 2020/21 Program Year will be assessed based on the 2020/21 online program eligibility policy.

Streamlined Appeal Process for Current Year Income

  • The appeal process for applications to be reassessed based on current year income has been streamlined with a single Income Appeal form. This new form replaces the Appeal for Parent/Step-Parent, Sponsor or Legal Guardian Contribution and the Appeal for Student or Spouse/Common-Law Partner Contribution.

Updated May 6, 2020

Interruption of Study Policy:

StudentAid BC Interruption of Study policy is intended to support students during short-term interruptions of 2-4 weeks. The following guidance is provided to assist post-secondary institutions managing interruptions of study due to COVID-19.

March 2020 COVID-19 Interruption

For study programs interrupted in March 2020 that were scheduled to conclude before May 29, 2020, and have since been cancelled or moved to early completion:

  • No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required.
  • Students will remain eligible for funding for the duration of their study period should they maintain satisfactory scholastic standing.

For study programs interrupted in March 2020 that were scheduled to conclude after May 29, 2020, and have not been cancelled, moved to early completion or continued in an alternate manner:

  • Institutions must identify options to assist students in resuming and completing their study period or, if none are available, report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) to StudentAid BC by May 29, 2020.
  • If institutions identify options for continuing and/or extending the interrupted study period, students may request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding.
  • For study periods that are unable to continue, students may reapply to StudentAid BC for additional student financial assistance when their study period resumes.

For more on StudentAid BC Interruption of Study policy, please see Chapter 9, Section 4 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

Future Interruptions of Study Due to COVID-19

  • For study periods and programs currently underway or scheduled to start after May 29, 2020, students will be eligible to receive StudentAid BC funding for up to four (4) weeks during any future interruption of study related to COVID-19.
  • After four (4) weeks of interruption, institutions must report students to StudentAid BC as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) should study periods be unable to continue.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What if an institution temporarily suspended operations (e.g. school closes, exchange program students recalled, work-integrated learning cancelled, etc.) due to COVID-19?

An interruption of study will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding should students complete or recommence classes before May 29, 2020. No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required.

If an institution extends the study period in response to an interruption, students may request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding.

What if an institution cancels the term/semester due to COVID-19?

No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required if institutions cancel the term/semester before May 29, 2020.

If an institution cancels a study period that was scheduled to end after May 29, 2020, the institution must report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) as of May 29, 2020.

Students may reapply to StudentAid BC for financial assistance when their study period resumes.

What if a student is ill or has been quarantined and cannot successfully complete their study period?

As with other illnesses, students may choose to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period.

If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the institution will report their withdrawal as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn or unsuccessful completion).

Students may choose to appeal their withdrawal or unsuccessful completion in order to access future funding.

What if a student decides to self-quarantine or not attend class out of concern for COVID-19?

As with other exceptional circumstances, students may choose to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period.

If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the institution will report their withdrawal as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn or unsuccessful completion).

Students may choose to appeal their withdrawal or unsuccessful completion in order to access future funding.

Who should I contact if I’m not sure what to do?

Please call StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818.

Updated July 22, 2020

Program Eligibility for Student Financial Assistance – Information for Post-Secondary Institutions:

Post-secondary institutions are adapting and modifying study programs and using alternative program delivery methods to ensure continuity of learning for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following guidance is provided to assist institutions seeking StudentAid BC student financial assistance program eligibility for study programs affected by COVID-19.

For more information on StudentAid BC program eligibility, please consult Chapter 2 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

Online Program or Blended Learning Program Eligibility Policy:

For 2020/21, all provincially authorized (regulated) online programs offered by B.C. public and private institutions will be eligible for student financial assistance. All online programs must meet basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. be minimum of 12 weeks within a time frame of 15 consecutive weeks, offer a credential, etc.). B.C. regulated institutions may be designated by SABC if they have one eligible online program (on-site equivalent no longer required).

For more information on how to answer question 20a of the StudentAid BC application (Is your program being delivered online or blended?), please see the Loan Application Instructions for 20/21.

Enabling Study Periods of Less than 12 Weeks:

For 2020/21, eligibility for student financial assistance has expanded to include students in study periods of 6 consecutive weeks (reduced from previous minimum of 12 weeks) and no more than 52 consecutive weeks. However, study program length must still be a minimum of 12 weeks within a time frame of 15 weeks to be eligible for student financial assistance.

Programs That Require In-Person Learning or Participation for Completion

For existing and new study programs that require in-person learning or participation (work-integrated learning, co-op, clinical placements, practicums, labs, etc.) for completion, which institutions are now or will be delivering via alternate methods or in modified fashion, or may have in-person components interrupted or delayed due to COVID-19:

  • These programs, should they have the approval of the institution and professional association regulators to be delivered in an alternate or modified manner, will be eligible for StudentAid BC funding provided they meet all other required basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum 12-weeks in length, lead to formal post-secondary credentials, etc.).
  • In-person learning or participation may be interrupted or delayed up to 4 weeks during which time students may remain eligible for StudentAid BC funding. After 4 weeks of interruption/delay, institutions must report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) to StudentAid BC. See Interruption of Study policy.
  • StudentAid BC student eligibility criteria will continue to apply for students attending modified study programs with required in-person learning or participation that are approved by institution and professional association regulators.

Who should I contact if I’m not sure what to do?

Please call StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818