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Eligibility and preparations

The majority of governmental student financial assistance programs are open to Undergraduate and Graduate students pursuing full-time studies. Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled in diploma and certificate programs are not eligible for US Government funding. However, it is still possible to apply for private loan funding.

Eligibility

Verify your eligibility with FSA

A quick glance at the basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid

Acceptance

In order to qualify for financial aid, you must first have been accepted to the University. Only after being accepted at the University will your financial aid documents be processed.

Registration and Course Load

To be eligible for all federal loans, you must be registered in a minimum of 6 credits per semester.

International students are expected to maintain a full time course (12-15 credits per semester) load as a condition of immigration requirements. If you will be studying less than full time, you should contact the International Student Office (http://supportservices.concordia.ca/iso/) to make sure that you do not have any difficulties with Immigration Quebec or the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Eligible Programs

As a Title IV Foreign Institution, our office must abide by the laws of Title IV Aid as mandated by the US Federal Government and meet program eligibility requirements. For recipients of Direct Loan funding, this means that the version of the program into which the student is accepted will not include the following: 

Any use of a telecommunications course, correspondence course or direct assessment (CFR 600.51 (d)).

As such, students receiving Title IV aid must register for on campus courses only throughout their academic career at Concordia in order to be considered enrolled in an eligible program.  Should a student register in any ineligible course as outlined above, they are automatically considered to be in an ineligible program and will immediately become ineligible for Title IV funds.  There is no appeal process for this requirement.  Students are encouraged to discuss their study plans with a Financial Aid advisor before registering.

Foreign Schools- Temporary measures due to Covid-19

Foreign Schools; Distance Education – While Title IV of the HEA does not permit foreign schools to provide distance learning to U.S. students for the purposes of the Direct Loan program, the CARES Act allows an otherwise eligible program at a foreign institution to be offered via distance education if the applicable governmental authorities in the country in which the foreign institution is located have declared an emergency related to COVID-19.

Under normal circumstances, a Federal Student Aid eligible program is one that does not contain any use of telecommunications (online courses), correspondence or direct assessment.  Students are typically not eligible to receive Direct Loans while taking distance education or online courses. Any violation of this would make them ineligible for Direct Loan funding for the duration of their program. The CARES Act temporarily allows US students to participate in on-line courses. Please note, for previous terms that are not covered by the CARES Act any student who registered in an ineligible course remain ineligible for Direct Loans for the duration of their program.

Study Abroad and Exchange Programs

New US Government Regulations Effective  July 1st, 2021

Studying Abroad

Students participating in a Study Abroad Program and are paying tuition and fees at another institution are NOT ELIGIBLE to receive subsidized/unsubsidized/PLUS or alternative loans through Concordia. You must make arrangements with the institution you have chosen to attend for your financial aid.

Exchange Programs

US students studying on an official Concordia exchange through Concordia International are considered to be Concordia students for subsidized/unsubsidized/PLUS and alternative loans. Students can continue to apply and have their Title IV funds processed through the Concordia Financial Aid Office.

The U.S. Dept. of Education published final regulations which take effect July 1, 2021, which will allow US students registered at a Title IV foreign school to access US Direct Loans while attending US eligible colleges and universities and foreign institutions that do not participate in the US Direct Loan program, for up to 25% of their program of study.

The following regulations apply for the 25% of a program of study at a non-Title IV foreign* school or eligible US institution per level of study:

Undergraduate

  • 25% of program length, based on credits
  • Applies to exchanges and internships **

Master’s – Without Thesis

  • 25% of program length, based on credits
  • Applies to internships **

Master’s – With Thesis

  • 25% of official program length, based on published program length, in years

PhD

  • Independent research done by an individual student in the U.S. for not more than one academic year is permitted, if conducted during the dissertation phase of a doctoral program under faculty guidance and the research is performed only in a U.S. facility.

May not stack the 25 percent allowance and one academic year allowed for dissertation research; doctoral students taking advantage of both provisions are limited to one year of study/research in the U. S.

* Definition of ‘‘foreign institution’’ in 34 CFR § 600.52

** Internships in the United States don’t have to be at a campus, they can also be with a company, non-profit or other organization, as long as they are approved by the student’s home institution. However, the internship or externship portion of a program must meet standards of an accrediting agency or the standards of an outside oversight entity.

Dependency Status

The US Department of Education will consider you independent if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You will be at least 24 years old by December 31st of the award year.
  • You are an orphan or ward/dependent of the court, or were a ward/dependent of the court until you reached age 18.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • You will be working on a master's or doctorate program at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed.
  • You will be married as of the date the FAFSA is completed.
  • You have at least one child who receives more than half his or her support from you.
  • You have a dependent, other than a spouse or a child, who lives with you and receives more than half of his or her support from you at the time the FAFSA is completed and through June 30th of the award year.

You are considered dependent if you do not meet any of the preceding criteria for an independent student unless the FAAO determines that you are independent on the basis of special circumstances.

Entrance counselling

All first year students at Concordia University are required to complete Entrance Counselling prior to receiving loan funds. Entrance Counselling describes the rights and obligations of borrowers and answers many questions you may have about loans. It may also be completed at StudentLoans.gov.

  • If you are a Direct Loan borrower, please complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counselling. 
  • If you are a Graduate PLUS Loan borrower, please complete the Graduate PLUS Entrance Counselling. 
  • If you are a borrower of both types of loans, please complete the combined Entrance Counselling.

When you complete Entrance Counselling, the FAAO will not receive an electronic confirmation please print a confirmation. A hardcopy of the confirmation of the Entrance Counselling must be kept in your file for audit purposes.

Cost of attendance

The FAAO calculates your cost of attendance (COA) when your application is being processed in order to determine your financial need. The COA is based on tuition fees, books and living expenses for one academic year. The COA is based on the number of credits you actually intend to take.

Visit our Tuition and Fees pages for the most recently updated information about tuition and compulsory fees based on program.

Living expenses are calculated by the FAAO. Housing, food, transportation and personal expenses are included in the estimate of reasonable costs per semester. Additional costs, such as supplies and internet fees are also calculated.

Other necessary and reasonable expenditures that don't fall into the above categories, such as the purchase of a computer or a return trip home, may also be included in the calculation if approved by a Financial Aid Advisor and if you can provide proof of purchase. Once all of the costs have been assessed, the COA is calculated in Canadian dollars and then converted to US dollars based on the exchange rate of that day.

Budgeting

Once you have figured out what your expenses are and what you hope to borrow, you can begin outlining a budget for the year. Try to map out your finances well in advance; it's difficult to study on an empty stomach! Here are some helpful websites about financial planning:

Banking

You will need a Canadian bank account (which has debit card capability) for the deposit of any surplus in your student account. Many banks will allow you to apply for a bank account online, so you can start the process before you get to Montreal. Here are the websites of several banks with branches near Concordia:

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