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September 12, 2002 Student loans for part-timers



This fall, for the first time, part-time students at Quebec universities, including Concordia, will be able to get student loans. The policy has been law for about 10 years, but has not been implemented until this year.

To qualify, a student must be enrolled in a registered program, taking between six and 11 credits per semester. Graduate students are also eligible.

The loans cover educational expenses (tuition and student fees) and child care. A fixed amount is set aside for child care expenses, $350 per child per semester. To quality, the student must be earning less than $35,000 a year.

The loans must be repaid, but as with loans to full-time students, repayment doesn’t begin until graduation. The loan and repayment schedule are adjusted if the student goes from full-time to part-time status. If he or she goes from part-time to full-time, however, the loans incurred as a part-time student are forgiven.

Brenda Brisson, Coordinator of Client Services for Financial Aid and Awards, says that about 50 per cent of full-time students at Concordia are on some form of student aid, and she expects part-time students to take advantage of the loans when they hear about them. Concordia has a high proportion of part-time to full-time students, about 45 per cent part-time and 55 per cent full-time.

There is printed information in the Financial Aid waiting room; students can also access the information on the touch screens set up around campus. Applications can be made on the Web, via links on the Financial Aid Web site. The Ministry of Education asks the university to verify the accuracy of the information before approving the loan.

“It’s relatively easy to apply, because there’s not a lot of documentation involved,” Brisson said. “This might not solve all the problems that part-time students may have, but it will certainly help. Until now, part-timers have had very few sources of assistance.”