International Student Services (ISS)

Bursaries and Loans

Occasionally, international students have unexpected financial shortfalls. An emergency has occurred that was not budgeted for, a bank draft from home was delayed, or promised funding was not given. To assist students caught in precarious financial situations, International Student Services administers: 

  1. International Student Emergency Bursary and Loan Fund -- helps to cover living expenses, runs year round. All international students are eligible to apply.
  2. International Undergraduate Student Bursary (IUSB) -- helps cover tuition fees, runs once a year. Only open to international undergraduate students.

Emergency Bursaries and Loans

Assist students in an emergency financial situation to help cover their living expenses. International Student Services administers an International Student Emergency Bursary and Loan Fund. 

These funds are not intended to cover expenses that should have been budgeted for in advance of coming to Canada. Students applying for an emergency loan or bursary will need to demonstrate how their financial shortfall is outside of their control, and, beyond their budgeting expectations.

Emergency Loans and Bursaries from the International Student Services cannot be granted for:

  1. Tuition and fees
  2. Paying off any outstanding debts
  3. Transportation and other costs involved in returning home during or at the end of studies
  4. Research expenses and thesis costs
  5. Sending money to your family back home, even in the event of an emergency
  6. Cosmetic medical costs (e.g. non-emergency dental care)

Only registered University of Alberta students with valid study permits can apply for this fund. 

Emergency Loans

The Emergency Loan Fund is a revolving fund that provides interest-free loans for specific purposes. Loans are intended to cover short-term essential living expenses when unforeseen circumstances result in the delay of anticipated funds for which the student expects to receive shortly.

Typical cases of loans are: new students on graduate assistantships arriving from countries where currency exchange controls do not allow them to bring enough money to cover initial expense; students on foreign scholarships whose cheques have been delayed by governments or banks abroad; students who have emergency expenditures they will be able to cover at a later date.

In all of these cases, the student is expected to repay the loan in full when the anticipated funding arrives.

Emergency Bursaries

Emergency bursaries are to cover verifiable emergencies, that is, the student is expected to demonstrate that there has been an unexpected essential expense or an unanticipated cut in funding. Emergency Bursaries are not intended to supplement a student’s income or to pay for items that should have been budgeted for. Emergency Bursaries have been granted for items such as travel resulting from a death in the immediate family.

Budget Considerations

It is unlikely that either the Bursary or Loan Fund will be adequate to provide solutions to long-term financial problems. Before applying for a bursary or loan, students must determine how financial aid would assist in solving their financial difficulties.

Before the start of their study, University of Alberta students need a secure budget plan to fund academic and living expenses for the duration of their studies, not just the first year.

Application Procedures 

If, after reviewing the above guidelines, you feel you qualify for financial assistance, follow these steps to submit an application:  

  1. Complete the online application form
  2. Upload the following documents to the application form: 
    • A photocopy of your Study Permit
    • If currently in your first year of study, provide photocopies of your proof of funds used for your most recent Temporary Resident Visa and Study Permit application. This may include bank statements, letters from funders and parents. 
    • Copy of last 60 days of transaction records for ALL of your bank accounts (chequing/savings), including those of your spouse/partner
    • Completed Financial Information and History pdf form
    • A copy of your residence contract/lease agreement and/or proof of housing payments
    • Any receipts for costs incurred with extenuating expenses or other relevant documents if applicable

    Once you submit these documents, an advisor will contact you to book an appointment online. 

  3. Attend your appointment to discuss your application with the advisor and determine your eligibility for Financial Aid. 

Note: If your emergency is urgent, requiring funds in a matter of hours (e.g. you have to travel home immediately to attend a funeral of a parent), please email Otherwise, please follow the procedures outlined above.

Submit online application form