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. Transportation and other costs involved in returning home at the end of studies
  3. Research expenses and thesis costs
  4. Sending money to your family back home, even in the event of an emergency
  5. Cosmetic medical costs (e.g. non-emergency dental care)

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

Note: Limited funding available. Please email advising@ualberta.ca before you submit your application.

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 expenses for which the student expects to be receiving money 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 

Download application form

If, after reviewing the above guidelines, you feel you qualify for financial assistance, please complete and print the application form, or you may visit the International Services Centre to request an application form.

Submit the following documents with your application:

  • A photocopy of your Study Permit
  • 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. 
  • A copy of your most recent monthly bank statement for all of your accounts, including those of your spouse's or partner's
  • A copy of your residence contract/lease agreement and proof of housing payments
  • Any receipts for costs incurred with extenuating expenses

Submit the completed form and supporting documents to the Receptionist (142 TELUS Centre) who will make an appointment for you to discuss your application with an International Student  Specialist.

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), ask the Receptionist if you can speak with a staff member right away. Otherwise, please follow the procedures outlined above.


Email an International Student Specialist.