Frequently-asked questions


How do I apply for awards?

Applications for UNBC awards are made through your myUNBC (Student Online Services) portal 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 the application process. Ensure you have completed all sections of the application and agree to the terms and conditions in the Declaration section, then continue past the last page where there is a reminder about the supporting documentation* deadline.  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 via on/before the applicable deadline (Note: reference letters must come directly from the referee to

What marks are awards and scholarships based on?

For students entering UNBC for the first time, the Admission GPA done by the UNBC Admissions Unit is used.  For undergraduate students already in study at UNBC, all awards, scholarships and bursaries offered through UNBC are based on your previous year’s status, hours and GPA.  For graduate students already in study at UNBC, awards are based on your cumulative GPA and hours for your graduate program.  If you were a part-time student as of April 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.

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.

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 academic strengths, leadership abilities, or community involvement.  Letters of reference must be submitted to the Awards & Financial Aid Unit by the referee directly to  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).

When and how are awards disbursed?

All awards are sent to students via an emailed offer with award terms/conditions and a returnable "Notification of Award Acceptance".  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.  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.  Timelines will vary depending on the award category (Early Entrance Awards - early-March, Entrance Awards - late April, Other Award Categories - mid-June).

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 in a thesis/project to be considered full-time. The Awards & Financial Aid Unit will check your registration status to confirm full-time enrolment up until the last add/drop date within the semester the award is to be disbursed in.  Once this date has passed, you will not receive your award if you are not registered full-time.

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 UNBC Admissions Unit. Deferral requests must be made in writing and addressed to the Awards and Financial Aid Coordinator. Requests can be sent to or submitted to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit (within the Office of the Registrar).  Deferral policies are not subject to appeal.

If I have enough credits to graduate after completing the September semester, do I still only receive half of my award if it is unnecessary for me to attend the January 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 or to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit. Once we have validated that the student has enough credits to graduate, the full amount will be deposited to their student account.

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).

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

External awards are not applicable to the UNBC awards ceiling.  There are many external scholarship search engines that you can look for external awards on.  Please visit the Awards and Financial Aid home page for a list of external award links - scroll to the "Non-UNBC Awards" column.

Student loans

How Much Will Financing My University Education Cost?

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

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 by mid-July if you wish things to be in place for the upcoming academic year.  Application can still be made closer to, or once the semester has started, but it will mean funding may not be in place for September start, so payment of tuition/student fees should be made via other means.

Once the applicant has been informed of their assessment by SABC and they receive the Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) - this step is done only for your first loan - to accept the terms of taking on a government student loan and providing their personal bank account info to the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) for loan payout.

Student loan funds start being 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.  Enrolment can only be confirmed 15 days prior to the start of classes each semester.  For full-time student loan funding, undergraduate students must be registered in nine (9) credit hours per semester, and six (6) credit hours for graduate students.  It can then take 3-4 business days for NSLSC to receive confirmation of enrolment and disburse funds via electronic fund transfer to student bank accounts.

If the University confirms a student's enrolment in advance of the semester's start, then the University automatically defers the student's tuition/fee payment until the end of the 1st month each semester.  HOWEVER, if a student applies late for a government 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 Arrangement" via the UNBC Finance Department (

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 Unit prior to withdrawing from classes.

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

Yes, this is considered a ‘split enrolment’.  Students must provide the Awards and Financial Aid Unit via with a copy of your registration/receipt for your online class 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.  You also should obtain a Letter of Permission for the course from the UNBC Advising Unit to confirm that the course will be counted for credit toward your UNBC degree.

How do I notify the student loan centre 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 an active student loan for the semester, that puts you into interest-free/no repayment status automatically - this step is not required.

However, if you are NOT receiving an active government student loan and want to inform your provincial student loan centre or the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) you are still full-time status, you can apply by:
a) Using the NSLSC website.  You should do this one semester at a time - we must be able to confirm you have registered in a full-time status amount of credit hours for the semester.
b) And/or, if you are from BC you can apply online via your StudentAid BC Dashboard, go to: You should do this one semester at a time - we must be able to confirm you have registered in a full-time status amount of credit hours for the semester.

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.

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. The NSLSC also has a channel on Twitter and i on YouTube!.  The webinar is free and 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:

UNBC Scholars

Will I lose my scholarship if I take less than 12 credit hours (4 classes) in the September and January semesters?

You must 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.  There is an appeal mechanism in place where you can appeal to the Senate Committee on Scholarship & Bursaries (SCSB) to take a reduced course load (normally there must be compassionate or medical grounds for such an appeal).  If you wish to find out more about the above contact Awards & Financial Aid via

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 and Environmental Engineering.  You must provide the UNBC Awards and Financial Aid Unit with a copy of your registration and receipt for the classes.  We will then send payment for your tuition amount to the institution.