Graduate Students

Government Loans and Grants

The Government of Canada works with most provincial or territorial governments to offer student loans and grants. In all situations, students apply with their province or territory of residence, which does not always coincide with the province in which they plan to study in. The amount students can receive each term is calculated when they submit their application. Students are automatically considered for all loans and grants that they may be eligible for at that time of application.

The amount of funding a student can receive depends on many factors, including:

  • Their province or territory of residence
  • Their family income, which could include an expected contribution from parent(s)
  • If they have dependents
  • Their term-based tuition and mandatory fees and living expenses
  • If they have a recognized disability

Loan agreement

The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) outlines the terms of accepting and repaying student loans. Students only have to sign this agreement once as it covers present and future student loans.

When you complete your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSAFAA) through the National Student Loan Service Centre you must use your own personal bank account details to ensure that you receive your student loans and grants. If you have outstanding tuition and fees, Financial Aid and Awards will automatically deduct this outstanding amount and redirect them to your SFU student account.  If you provide SFU’s banking information, SFU will both automatically deduct your outstanding tuition and fees from your student loans and grants, and receive any remaining funds as a deposit to our general bank account.  This will cause unnecessary delays for you to receive your funding since we will not be able to match these funds to your SFU student account and SFU will return these funds back to the NSLSC to be matched to your original student loan and grant account.

The MSFAA will not show loan and grant amounts. Students will receive a Notice of Assessment from their province or territory that tells them how much student assistance they will receive per application.

Students will only have to re-sign a new MSFAA if they apply for government-issue student financial assistance after:

  • taking a 2-year break from school, or
  • permanently moving to another province/territory

Students can review the terms and conditions of their MSFAA on the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) website.

Student Loan Interest

Effective April 1st, 2023, the Government of Canada has permanently eliminated the accumulation of interest on all Canada Student Loans including loans currently being repaid.

Several other Provinces and Territories have also eliminated the accumulation of interest on loans issued from their jurisdictions including BC, Manitoba, and New Brunswick. Please check with your home Province or Territory for confirmation.

B.C. Residents (StudentAid BC funding)

StudentAid BC has created a series of YouTube videos to help students learn about the student financial assistance journey from start to finish.

Students can check out the complete playlist and subscribe to StudentAid BC’s YouTube channel to catch new videos added over time.

✔️ What is StudentAid BC?
✔️ Before you apply to StudentAid BC
✔️ How to create your StudentAid BC account
✔️ How much student funding I can get
✔️ How repayment works for StudentAid BC loans

Families from other Provinces or Territories

If your family is not from B.C., students apply through their home Province or Territory for funding.

What is considered full-time studies?

BC Residents: Graduate students must be enrolled as a full-time graduate student in a student loan eligible program.  If you have concerns about your program being eligible/ineligible, please contact us.

Out of Province Residents: Definitions of full-time studies vary for each province. To determine the definition for your province of residence, please go to your province's student loans website. For a listing of these websites, see the Out of Province Residents (Full-time & Part-Time) section.

What is considered part-time studies?

BC Residents: Graduate students who are enrolled in 2 – 5 units at SFU exclusively are considered to be studying part-time.

Out of Province Residents: Definitions of part-time studies vary for each province. To determine the definition for your province of residence, please go to your province's student loans website. For a listing of these websites, see the Out of Province Residents (Full-time & Part-Time) section.

Please review our list of programs that are not eligible for student loans and grants.


Please note: Government-issued student financial assistance, including loans and grants, is available to Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, or students that have protected person status based on your province of residence. US Residents can be considered for US Federal Direct Funding and other targeted resources. If you belong to a different student group, please see our International Students page.