Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Full-Time/Part-Time Conundrum

It's not rocket science, but that doesn't mean it's easy...

One of the most common questions I get asked is whether a program is full-time or part-time.

This seemingly simple question has a fairly complex answer. Or answers, actually, since program status depends on a number of factors and could change depending on who’s asking. RRU has a definition of full-time but funders may have additional criteria and they hold veto power.


The truth is I cannot tell you the answer with absolute certainty until I know more about you as an individual. When someone asks me if their program is part-time or full-time I usually follow up with these three questions…

  1.  What program are you taking?
  2.  In which province did you most recently live for at least 12 consecutive months without attending full-time post-secondary studies?
  3.  Are you planning to borrow from your RRSP’s or a student line of credit?

Questions 1 and 2 help me figure out which government student loan program you might be eligible to apply to. Since you apply for student loans through your province of residence*, and each province has its own student loan policies, our programs may be eligible for different funding in different provinces.

For example, our MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding program is eligible for part-time student loan funding for BC residents, however Saskatchewan residents can apply for full-time loans. Quebec residents, on the other hand, aren’t eligible for any student loan funding because Quebec does not fund out-of-province programs that are delivered through distance learning.

I’m not going to bore you with a lecture on student loan policy (although if you’re interested in learning more then give me a call; I love a good policy chat!). If you’re a BC, Alberta, or Ontario resident you can find a list of full-time programs on our website. Otherwise, this chart gives an overview of government student loan eligibility by degree type for each province.


Certificate or Diploma
program
1 year on-campus program
2 year blended program
British Columbia
Alberta
Ontario
Part-Time
Full-time
Full-time if RRU offers  an on-campus equivalent
Manitoba
TBD
Full-time
Case by case
Yukon
TBD
Full-time
Case by case
Quebec
Not eligible
Full-time
Not eligible
Saskatchewan
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland
North West Territories
Part-Time
Full-time
Full-time
New Brunswick
Not eligible
Full-time
Case by case

















So now that we’ve covered student loans let’s move on to Question 3, which is much more straight forward.

If you’re planning to apply for a student line of credit or to borrow from your RRSP’s through the Life Long Learning Plan your financial institution will request you provide a letter confirming your full-time enrolment.

Here’s the good news. Almost all of our programs are considered full-time for the purposes of a student LOC and the LLLP. You can chuck my chart right out the window. Just contact our Registrar’s office to request a confirmation of enrolment letter and be on your merry way to your financial institution.

This comes with an exception, of course. Students in the Environmental Practice and Interdisciplinary Studies programs are in a league of their own when it comes to government student loans and bank loans because program schedules are not standard. This doesn’t mean they’re not eligible for funding though. Get in touch with me to discuss your options.

Sorry, what was that? You still don’t know whether your program is full-time or part-time? You mean my lengthy explanation and rather ambiguous chart didn’t make things absolutely clear to you? Luckily the Financial Aid & Awards team is here to help. Contact us anytime for information on your status and funding eligibility.


*For student loan purposes, your province of residence is considered the Canadian province in which you have lived most recently for 12 continuous months (excluding any time spent in full-time post-secondary study).

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