Financial Need Assessment Policy

Financial Need Assessment Policy

Brock University has funds available to help students who experience financial difficulty. University bursaries are available for those Brock University students who exhibit the greatest financial need. They are intended to supplement educational resources such as government student loans, employment earnings, scholarships, externally administered bursaries and family contributions. Bursaries should not be considered a major part of a student’s plan for financing their studies. Typically, bursary allocations range from $500 to $3,000 although not all applicants will qualify for funding. The university will request that all students present a budget-style financial profile to be considered for an award based on financial need. The profile will supply information that will allow the university to clearly determine a student’s financial position. The application should also allow the student to comment on their financial position. The application should request the following information.

1) Category of Student

To determine appropriate costs, students are identified as being in one of the following categories:

• Single Dependent - Living at Home
• Single Dependent - Living Away from Home
• Single Independent - Living at Home
• Single Independent - Living Away from Home
• Married
• Single Parent

Independent Students are:
• students who have graduated from secondary school, more than four years prior to the current year.
• students who have been in full-time employment for two or more years.
• students who are married.
• students who are single parents.

2) Resources

Students are required to access all reasonable resources available to them before declaring financial need.  Actual resources will be used for the determination of need, when available.  Estimates will be used when actual amounts are not available. The university will calculate expected contributions from all sources based on income.

a) Student and Spousal Income

Pre-study Period - Students and their spouses are expected to work full-time during this period. They should accumulate a contribution for their studies. In some circumstances the university will waive the expected contribution requirement in cases where the applicant was unable to find work or was studying full-time.
Study Period - students who expect to have income during the study period are expected to contribute a percentage of that amount toward their costs.  Unless the student’s spouse is also a full-time student, he/she should work full-time during the study period.

b) Student and Spousal Assets - Assets such as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) and other liquid assets are expected to be used over the course of the students proposed degree (i.e. A $10,000 RESP should be used at $2,500 per year for a four-year degree).  Registered Retirement Savings Plans and vehicles owned by the student will NOT be assessed when determining resources.

c) Parental Contribution - Parents of dependent students are expected to assist their children financially based on the gross family income, the family size and number of children in post-secondary education. The university has developed a formula based on the Canada Student Loan (CSL) model to determine an appropriate level of parental contribution. The CSL model determines an expected contribution based on the parent’s annual gross income less a moderate standard of living allowance. The Moderate Standard of Living (MSOL) allowance is based on Statistics Canada’s Family Expenditure Survey. If the parents have two or more dependent children in post-secondary education, the contribution is divided by the number of children. In some circumstances the university will waive the expected parental contribution requirement in cases of family breakdown or similar situations.

d) Other resources - Include government funding and targeted resources. The student is expected to contribute 100% of any government or targeted funding toward their expenses. Targeted resources are funds received from any third party to fund a specific element of a student’s costs. An example of a targeted resource would be a sponsorship from an employer for the cost of tuition.

3) Related Expenses

Only reasonable, education related expenses are considered for assessment when determining financial need. Actual expenses will be used for the determination of need, when available, if they fall within average expense allowances. If the actual expense exceeds the allowance, the student is required to submit an explanation for the variance. Allowances will be used when actual amounts are not available. Following is a list of related expenses, which will be requested on a bursary application. The university will calculate average expenses from previous year bursary applications to determine reasonable allowances.

a) Tuition and Compulsory Fees - Amount payable, based on the number of actual or proposed courses.

b) Books and Supplies - Amount paid.

c) Student Living Allowances - The Canada Student Loan Program has developed allowances for living costs for each category of student, using data from objective national databases. The assessment of standard student living allowances depends on each student's living situation. Brock will use this model when actual amounts are not available. Brock may adjust allowances to better reflect costs in the Niagara Region.

The standard allowances for living costs are intended to cover the costs incurred for shelter, food, local transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

d) Return Transportation - Dependent students living away from home are allowed one return trip to their permanent home per term. Only students living away from home within Ontario will be considered.

e) Child Care - Childcare expenses are allowed for married and single-parent students for dependent children under the age of 12.

f) Other Allowable Costs - exceptional expenses such as Alimony and Child Support payments (at net after-tax value) are considered on an individual basis. Other allowable costs could include but are not limited to Medical, Dental and Optical costs not covered by insurance.

4) Student Debt

The university will consider significant student loan debt to be an indicator of financial need.

5) Comments

Applications for financial assistance on the basis of need should include a section for comments. The applicant should be encouraged to illustrate their financial situation through this section. If certain expenses are higher than allowances or resources are lower than expected, the applicant should explain in the comments.