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 enable the University to clearly determine a student’s financial position. The application allows the student to comment on their financial position and request the following information.

1) Category of student

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

  • Single dependent – living at home;
  • Single dependent – living away from home;
  • Single independent – living at home;
  • Single independent – living away from home;
  • Married or Common Law;
  • Sole Support parent.

Independent Students are:

  • Students who have graduated from secondary school more than four years before the current year;
  • Students who have been employed full-time for two or more years;
  • Students who are married or common law;
  • Students who are sole support 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.

  1. Student and spousal income 
    1. 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 where the applicant was unable to find work or was studying full-time.
    2. 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.
  2. Student and spousal assets: Assets such as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) and other liquid assets are expected to be used during the student’s studies (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.
  3. 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 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
  4. Other resources: This includes government funding and targeted resources. The student is expected to contribute 100 per cent of any government or targeted funding toward their expenses. Targeted resources are funds received from any third party to pay for a specific element of a student’s costs. An example of a targeted resource would be 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 the previous year’s bursary applications to determine reasonable allowances.

  1. Tuition and compulsory fees: Amount payable, based on the number of actual or proposed courses.
  2. Books and supplies: Amount paid.
  3. 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 Niagara. The standard allowances for living costs are intended to cover the costs for shelter, food, local transportation and miscellaneous expenses.
  4. Other allowable costs: could include but are not limited to medical, dental and optical costs not covered by insurance.

4) Comments

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