One of the biggest financial benefits to studying at Athabasca University is the open format. There’s no formal timeline to complete most AU credentials, and you only pay for courses as you register for them. If time isn’t a concern, you can take your classes as you can afford them, and you may be able to complete your education with little student debt.
If meeting your goals means a faster pace and a heavier financial commitment, there are financial aid options available.
Types of financial aid
There are 3 main types of financial aid. All are based on financial need.
- Loans must be repaid once your studies are complete.
- Grants do not need to be repaid. If you have applied for government financial aid, you will automatically be considered for grants.
- Bursaries do not need to be repaid. You must apply for bursaries.
If you’re a student with a disability, additional programs may be available. Our Access to Students with Disabilities (ASD) staff can help you apply or find other solutions to meet your needs.
Looking for other alternatives? AU’s Counselling Services has compiled a list of other financing options.
Who can apply?
Both full- and part-time students can apply for financial aid. Some non-program students may also be eligible for financial aid.
Note for part-time students: If you are part-time, you must apply for funding every semester. This could mean applying for next semester’s funding at the same time you start this semester’s course. You must also pay your tuition fees up-front and reimburse yourself with your loan funds.
Note for non-program students: If you are a non-program student, you may be eligible for up to 1 year of financial aid in some provinces. After that, you must enrol in a program to continue your funding eligibility. Check with your funding agency to see if you are eligible for funding as a non-program (or Open Studies) student.
Things to know
There are a few things you should be aware of before you start the financial aid process. Once you’ve reviewed this list and you’re ready to begin, use the resources in the Ready to Apply sidebar on the right to get on your way.
- Start early. It can take up to 12 weeks to process a financial aid application. You should apply for funding at least 4 months before you want to begin your studies. Learn more about the application process.
- There are specific definitions for full-time and part-time status. If you don’t take the correct number of courses, your next semester’s funding could be reduced (or you could be asked to repay).
- Full-time undergraduate – at least three 3-credit courses (with the same start date) per semester.
- Part-time undergraduate – at least one and a maximum of three 3-credit courses per semester.
- Full-time graduate – at least one 4-month grouped study course or two 6-month individualized study courses per semester.
- Part-time graduate – one 6-month graduate course per semester.
- If you are receiving full-time undergraduate funding, you will have a shortened contract for your courses (4 months for 3-credit courses and 8 months for 6-credit courses). You can still apply for course extensions, though this could affect your funding.
- You must maintain satisfactory academic progress. AU is required to report cases of poor progress to provincial funding agencies. If this happens, you will likely lose your funding.
- If you’re enrolled in an AU program, but taking classroom courses on-site at a partner institution, special processes apply. Please see attending an AU Collaborative Institution for details.
Updated May 12 2016 by Web Strategy, Advancement