Education and Training

Manitoba Student Aid

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What's Available? Do I Qualify?

What is Manitoba Student Aid?

The Manitoba Student Aid Program provides supplemental financial assistance for post-secondary educational purposes to Manitobans with limited finances. See Our Program for further details.

What types of assistance are available?

The basic types of assistance for full-time students are Canada Student Loan and Manitoba Student Loan. The maximum Canada Student Loan is $210 per week of study and the maximum Manitoba Student Loan is $140 per week of study.

For more detailed information on these and other types of assistance, see the section on Our Program, Types of Assistance for Full-Time Students.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

There are several eligibility requirements. These are detailed in Our Program, Eligibility Requirements.

I am a part-time student. Do I qualify for assistance?

If you are a part-time student, you may qualify for assistance under the part-time program if you meet the requirements as outlined in Our Program Types of Assistance for Part-time Students.

Are my school and/or program eligible?

To determine if the school and program you are planning to attend are eligible, see our section on Your School and Program.

Institution and Program Designation

Iíve been trying to apply for student aid online but the system says my institution / program isnít designated. What does this mean and what should I do?

Your institution or program must be “designated” (approved) in order for you to receive a student loan, bursary or other student financial assistance.

If your institution or program is not “designated,” this means you are not eligible to receive student aid funding for this particular institution or program until the approval process has been completed.

You will need to submit an application for student aid in paper format.

Once Manitoba Student Aid receives your application, it will be forwarded to the Designation Unit to begin the approval process.

What does the approval process involve?

Manitoba Student Aid will request specific information from your institution that will help determine if the institution meets designation criteria. These requirements are intended to support consumer protection and accountability between government and the institutions.

The institution will be asked to provide information about the campus, the administrative supports available to students, faculty, program of study, and financial information specific to the program of study.

Manitoba Student Aid staff will review the returned information for completeness and evaluate it against established criteria that all institutions / programs must meet.

The institution or program is then either formally designated or found to be ineligible for designation for the purpose of Manitoba student loans, bursaries, and other assistance.

Manitoba Student Aid will advise the institution and student of this outcome. Unfortunately, if the institution or program is ineligible for designation, you will not be able to receive government financial assistance to attend that institution or program.

How long does the approval process take?

Manitoba Student Aid recommends that you apply for student aid well in advance of your program start date. It takes four to six weeks to review and process the institutionís documents once they arrive in our office. You should allow an average of twelve weeks to allow time for the institution to respond, and for Manitoba Student Aid to process the information.

Twelve weeks? Thatís a long time! What can I do to speed up the process?

Provide Manitoba Student Aid with the name, phone number and email address for the Registrar or the contact person of the Student Awards Office. Check the institution’s general calendar, course catalogue, or program guide for this information.

If your institution is designated but the program you’d like to take isn’t: Along with your student aid application, provide a photocopy of the full program outline. The outline should include entrance requirements, course dates, and the number of hours of classroom study. This information should be available in the course catalogue or program guide. If that is not available, provide us with the school’s contact person as noted above.

You’ll be copied on initial email correspondence between Manitoba Student Aid and the contact(s) you provide for your institution. This is done so you can follow up with your institution to encourage them to respond to Manitoba Student Aid in a timely manner.

Should I check with Student Aid to see if my institution has followed up?

No. We recommend you direct your follow-up efforts to your institution.

I was copied on an email from Manitoba Student Aid to my institution. Can I use that email address / contact to find out the status of my request for student financial assistance?

Unfortunately, no. Designation staff does not have access to your loan application or to any other information about you.

How can I check the status of processing of my application for student financial assistance?

You can call our General Inquiry line, or you can check the status of your application online.

To check the status online go to My Student Aid Online (MySAO). Students who submit a paper application will receive a temporary password from Manitoba Student Aid.

How do I Apply for Student Aid?

How can I apply?

You can apply online or by paper.

Apply online at My Student Aid Online (MySAO), and you should receive notification of your results within two weeks.

If you are unable to apply online because this is your second application in the same program year, or if your institution or program is not designated, then please contact Manitoba Student Aidís General Inquiry line to ask about receiving a paper application.

When submitting a paper application, be sure to answer all the appropriate questions, sign all required declaration and consent forms, and if applicable, ensure your spouse or parents sign all required documents.

It can take up to five weeks to process a regular paper application and up to twelve weeks for a designation application, longer if the application is not completed properly, so plan ahead.

How long does it take to process an application?

It takes up to two weeks to process an Internet application and up to six weeks to process a paper application. See Our Program How, Where and When to Apply.

Is there a deadline date?

For Canada and Manitoba Student Loans, all information including any required documentation must be received no later than two months before your program ends. Furthermore, funds cannot be released after your program end date.

How do you Assess my Application?

How am I assessed?

To determine financial need, an assessment is performed taking into account your allowable costs and expected resources. The simple formula is:

Need = Allowable Costs – Expected Resources

See Our Program How Financial Need is Determined.

I do not live with my parents. Why do you consider me a dependent student when I am over 18 years of age?

Canada Student Loans policy states that you are considered as a dependant (even if you do not live with your parents) unless you meet the independent student criteria. See Independent Student.

How much money do my parents have to contribute?

If you are a dependent student, your parents are expected to contribute to your education based on their annual income and the number of dependants in your family. See Our Program for sections on Expected Contributions and Parental Contribution for a more detailed explanation. Also, see sample charts of Moderate Standard of Living (for Manitoba) and Weekly Expected Parental Contribution.

Are vehicles used as a resource when applying for Manitoba Student Aid?

Applications received at Manitoba Student Aid for programs starting after August 1st, 2015 will no longer use the value of a vehicle as a resource. In the past, students owning vehicles worth more than $10,000, may have been limited in the amount of student aid they could receive.

If you own a vehicle or other valuable property, you might want to consider selling it and putting the money towards your education.

How can I find out if my application has been received or processed yet?

You can check the status of your application in MySAO. If you have any questions, please contact us between 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at:

  • Winnipeg:  204-945-6321
  • Brandon:  204-726-6592
  • Toll Free:  1-800-204-1685 (Canada and the USA)
  • TTY Number:  204-945-8483 or 1-866-209-0696 (Canada and the USA)
  • .
I have consumer and credit card debts. Are these included under my expenses while attending school?

Personal debts are not considered in a studentís assessment of need. As “needs-based” programs for post-secondary studies, Canada and Manitoba Student Loan programs are designed to take into account only the studentís allowable educational and living expenses.

What should I do if some information changes after I have submitted my application?

If information changes, you must notify Manitoba Student Aid in writing. See Our Program – What To Do if the Information You Reported Changes.

Is the information I provide subject to audit and verification?

Yes. The information you provide is subject to audit and verification. If it is determined that you received more assistance that you were entitled to receive, penalties will be applied. See Our Program Audit and Verification for further information.

Your Award Information

When will I receive, and how do I cash my student loan(s)?

You will receive a Notice of Assistance Letter in the mail outlining the details of your loan(s). Read the back of the Notice of Assistance Letter for all details on when and how you will receive your assistance. Assistance cannot be released before the disbursement date and is only valid for 30 days after the date your school signs the document. Funds cannot be released after your study period end date. See Our Program How and When Funds are Paid.

Make sure you know your responsibilities before negotiating your loan(s). See Our Program Conditions of the Application for more details.

My tuition is due. Where is my second disbursement (payment)?

Awards are normally paid out in more than one disbursement (payment).

If you have not received your second disbursement:

  • Have you changed your course load? Delays can be caused if you forget to advise our office that you have dropped courses or changed your course load. When course load information you provided on your application does not match the information provided by your school regarding your current course load, we must confirm the correct information before your second disbursement can be released.
  • Have you had a change of address and not notified our office? If you did not notify us of your change of address and are attending school out-of-province or if your documents are normally mailed directly to you, your documents have been sent to your previous address. If your documents are normally sent to your school, your second disbursement will be at your school. Please contact them directly.
  • Have you submitted all the documentation that was requested with your Notice of Assistance letter? If we requested verification/documentation, it will be required before the release of the second disbursement.
  • Have you recently requested a review of your file? If so, these changes may require a reassessment of your application and may delay your award.

If your tuition is due and you are in an emergency situation, check with your school to see if funds are available to assist you until your award is available.

What if I disagree or am not satisfied with the result of my Manitoba Student Aid assessment?

If you believe your Notice of Assistance does not accurately reflect your situation and you have other expenses such as:

  • spousal support/maintenance/settlements
  • uninsured medical/dental costs
  • student loan payments (student or spouse)
  • funeral costs
  • commuting costs

You may have your file reviewed. Submit a request in writing along with any pertinent documentation. See Making Changes.

What is an overaward?

An overaward means that a student received more assistance than they were entitled to receive. See Overaward.

Pay Back Time

When and how do I begin paying back my loan?

All students must contact their lenders (or service providers) within six months of the end of their full-time studies. See Repayment for full details on how to proceed with repayment of your loans for both full- and part-time students.

Where do I repay my loans?
  • For information on repaying a Canada Student Loan issued before August 1, 2000, you should contact the lending institution that holds your previous loans.
  • For information on repaying a Canada Student Loan issued after August 1, 2000, contact the National Student Loan Service Centre for assistance.
  • Manitoba Student Loans issued before August 1, 2001, must be repaid to the Royal Bank (or to the previous lender that issued the loans).
  • Manitoba Student Loans issued after July 31, 2001, must be repaid directly to Manitoba Student Aid.
What if I am having difficulty repaying my loans?

If you are having difficulty repaying your student loan(s), there may be options available to you. See Repayment for complete details.

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