Welcome to our definitions page. Here you will find an ever-growing list of terms related to financial aid and awards. These websites also have useful definitions pages:

[DISCLAIMER! These are the definitions we use at RRU, which are generally the most common. However, some funding programs will use different definitions. For example, most provincial/territorial student loan programs start the Academic Year on August 1, however some funders start on September 1. When in doubt contact your funder or the Financial Aid & Awards team at RRU.]

Awards Definitions



A generic term, including any award that may be based on a combination of academic and non-academic criteria including scholarships, fellowships, grants, bursaries, medals, plaques, or prizes.


A monetary award provided on a competitive basis and based primarily on demonstrated financial need. The purpose of a  bursary is to provide students with a supplemental source of income, which, when added to other major sources of income, will provide the funds necessary to defray educational expenses.


A monetary award provided on a competitive basis that is primarily based on outstanding academic achievement or excellence in a specific subject or group of subjects.

A event/position for which you could not have planned. This does not include the normal cost of living and education.

Critical financial need:
All other financial resources have been exhausted and persistence in the program is dependant on receiving financial assistance.

Temporary financial need:
There is a reasonable plan in place for making necessary financial obligations but timing on receiving funding does not meet payment deadline dates.

Reasonable financial need:
Financial need does not far exceed the value of the award offered in competition.

Student Loan Definitions

Academic Year:

At RRU the academic year runs from August 1 to July 31 of the following year. When applying for government student loans, the date your study period begins determines which academic year application form you use.

For example, if your study period started in September 2014 you would use the 2014-2015 academic year application form.

Course Load:

Your course load is the number of credits you are taking over a period of time. Course load is expressed as a percentage.

Full-time studies: 

A student is considered to be full-time when enrolled in at least 60% of a full course load (40% for students with permanent disabilities) in a designated program.

At RRU a 60% full-time course load is 18 credits in 52 weeks for bachelor programs and 9 credits in 52 weeks for masters programs.

IMPORTANT! Your lending province may have other criteria for a full-time course load. Contact the Financial Aid & Awards team for assistance in determining your eligibility.

Part-time studies:

Students enrolled in 20% to 59% of a full course load are considered part-time.

Province of residence: 

The Canadian province in which you have lived most recently for 12 continuous months (excluding any time spent in full-time studies).

Study Period: 

A period of time during which an eligible student is enrolled in courses administered by a designated post-secondary institution. The study period is used to determine the amount of student loan funding you are eligible to receive.
The minimum study period length is 12 weeks and the maximum length is 52 weeks. Note that your study period may be different than your program’s start and end dates.

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