The Direct Loan Program offers three types of loans:

  • Subsidized loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school full time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
  • Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need. Interest is charged during all periods, including while in school and within the grace period.
  • PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans given to graduate/professional students and the parents of dependent students. Interest is charged during all periods. Graduate students must exhaust unsubsidized loan amounts before they are eligible to apply for a PLUS loan. 

To apply for a U.S. Direct Loan to attend UM, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  2. Sign a Master Promissory Note.
  3. Complete the University of Manitoba Direct Loan funding application.
  4. If you are a first time borrower, complete mandatory entrance counselling.

All U.S. students applying for Direct Loans must submit the University of Manitoba Direct Loan Funding Application to the UM Financial Aid and Awards office by July 16, 2021.

After receiving all of your required documentation, you will receive an eligible loan letter to your University of Manitoba email account (unless you specify a different account to send information to). This letter will indicate your eligible loan amount(s) and will include further rights and responsibilities that you will have to agree to prior to receiving loan funds.

Keep these requirements in mind as you're considering your application:

  • Distance and online courses are eligible for funding for spring/summer 2021 due to COVID situation. This policy may change for the regular Fall/Winter 2021-2022. Please stay tuned.
  • Part-time students are not eligible for Direct Loans—all students must take a 60% course load.
  • If this is your first time receiving a federal loan, you must attend school for 30 days before your funds can be released.
  • Federal Pell Grants and Federal Work-Study are not available outside of the U.S.
  • Direct Loan funding is not available for students who want to study nursing.
  • Direct Loan funding is not available for students in a non-degree program (ie. diploma, certificate).
  • Direct Loan funding is not available for students registered in the Faculty of Extended Education.

U.S. student loan requirements

Open a Canadian bank account

The Direct Loan program means that U.S. loan funds will be sent via wire transfer from the U.S. Treasury to the University of Manitoba directly. After verifying eligibility, we will credit your tuition account. After fees are paid in full, you will receive a refund cheque in Canadian dollars. If you deposit this cheque into a U.S. bank account, your money will most likely be held for two to four weeks, but if you have a Canadian dollar account, you will most likely avoid this long holding period so that you can gain access to your money faster.

Shop around and compare student banking plans, remembering to ask how long they will hold cheques for (if they do at all). We do not recommend any banks specifically as it is your preference in who to choose but if you will be living in residence, the only banking institution that offers ATMs on campus is Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

Visa requirements

All students must show to Canadian immigration that they have enough funding to pay for their educational and living expenses. Student loans are only meant to be a supplement to what you already have and often do not cover all of your costs. Our office can provide proof of funding letters, upon request, if we have received your loan information and UM application. Please allow two to four weeks for processing.

Contact us to request a proof of funding letter

Learn more about visa requirements

Satisfactory academic progress

All students must be aware of, and adhere to, satisfactory academic standards in order to remain eligible for U.S. funding.

Academic standards at the University of Manitoba are set and outlined by the faculty (or school) that you are currently registered for, and/or will be attending within the current or immediately next academic session. Standards are based upon grade point average and your faculty/school requirements for graduation (the length of time taken to complete your degree).

Should academic progress not be maintained, a (funded) probationary period will apply; this period will be no shorter than one academic term, and will not exceed one academic calendar year. After a probationary period has been completed and progress has not either been achieved or maintained, suspension from receiving subsequent student loans will occur until academic progress is satisfactorily achieved, and/or maintained, according to faculty/school standards.

Course load requirements

Course load is a simple calculation based on the credit hours you'll be taking, or in other words, how full time you will be. There are varying degrees of course load and minimums that each student must have in order to be considered full time. Make sure to read the minimum course load acceptable per term; going below this may result in the loss of your loan or put you into an over-award situation, in which you would have to repay what you were over-awarded before any new loans would be issued to you.

These course load calculations apply to classes in the regular academic session, from September to April:

  • 9 credit hours per term (total of 18 credit hours) = 60% course load
  • 12 credit hours per term (total of 24 credit hours) = 80% course load
  • 15 credit hours per term (total of 30 credit hours) = 100% course load


Graduate students do not have a credit hour requirement. If you are a graduate student in a Master's or PhD program, when you register as a full time student, you will automatically be considered at a 100% course load (even if solely working on your thesis; just ensure that your thesis work is registered for by either yourself, or your department).

Academic requirements

All students must note that course load requirements for student aid purposes may differ from the requirements imposed by your faculty for program completion and/or graduation. Always consult with your faculty student advisor to ensure that you are maximizing your course load for program requirements.

Exit counselling

This is a mandatory step that must be completed online when you stop attending school (whether by completing your degree or by ceasing study).

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

When a student, receiving Title IV funds through Federal Student Aid (FSA), withdraws from the University, a Return of Title IV Fund (R2T4) will be calculated and any refund will be sent back to FSA within 45 days of the withdrawal date.
Official withdrawal dates are recorded on students’ Registration History through the Aurora Registration System used by our University. The Financial Aid and Awards Office monitors student registration status once a month to check attendance and acts accordingly.
The R2T4 calculation may result in a reduction of the original/initial assessed amount of the loan. Our Institution uses the credit hour system and the period of enrolment when calculating the R2T4. The following variables/items are considered in the calculation process:
i) The number of days the student attended
ii) The number of days in the semester
iii) The total amount of US Direct Loan awarded, accepted and/or disbursed in a particular year
iv) The institutional charges
Upon calculation of the R2T4, if a student has ‘earned’ the loan fund (Direct Loan) that is not disbursed, the University will disburse that fund to the student. Any ‘unearned’ Direct Loan fund (when the student attended less than 60% of the semester) may be returned to the Federal Department of Education by the University and the student. If the returned amount exceeds the existing credit on the student’s fee account, the student will owe the funds to the University of Manitoba. Students will be notified via their University email about the amount and type of loan that is returned on his/her behalf.
When funds are returned to the Federal Department of Education on behalf of a student, they are used to repay the current year’s loan in the following order:
i) Unsubsidized Direct Loan
ii) Subsidized Direct Loan
iii) Parent PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Students
iv) Graduate PLUS Loan for Graduate Students

How to calculate loan limits

Before you think of applying for funding, it's important to know how much you can borrow. Average costs for one eight month school year can be between $22,500 and $30,000 CAD, while many first year students are not eligible for more than $5,500 USD in loans per year.

The maximum amount you can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans depends on your grade level and on whether you are an independent student or dependent student. The actual loan amount that you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by the school  and students may receive much less than the maximum annual amounts shown in the chart below. Please also note that Federal Pell Grants are not available outside of the U.S.

Your eligibility for aid depends on your Expected Family Contribution, your year in school, your enrolment status, and the cost of attendance at the school you will be attending. Our office will tell you how much you can receive once we've calculated all of your costs after receiving your financial information.

Annual loan limits
  Dependent student Independent student
First year undergraduate $5,500 (max $3,500 subsidized) $9,500 (max $3,500 subsidized)
Second year undergraduate $6,500 (max $4,500 subsidized) $10,500 (max $4,500 subsidized)
Third and fourth year undergraduate $7,500 (max $5,500 subsidized) $12,500 (max $5,500 subsidized)
Graduate/professional Not applicable (All graduate/professional students are considered independent) $20,500 (unsubsidized only)

Dependent student limits exclude those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan. Independent student limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.

Maximum loan limits

Total limits for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are as follows:

  • $31,000 for dependent undergraduate students excluding those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS Loan (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized).
  • $57,500 for independent undergraduate students and dependent undergraduates whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized).
  • $138,500 for graduate or professional students (no more than $65,500 may be subsidized; includes loans for undergraduate study).

These aggregate limits include both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and any subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans received through the Federal Family Education Loan program.

With a Direct PLUS Loan, a graduate/professional student or the parent of a dependent student can borrow up to the cost of the student's attendance minus other financial aid the student receives.

Manitoba-Minnesota Reciprocity

Under the Manitoba-Minnesota Reciprocity Agreement, any student who is a resident of the state of Minnesota, as defined by the University of Manitoba, is granted reciprocity fee status following application, submission of required documentation, and confirmation by the Registrar's Office. Please see this link for more information.

Contact us

Financial Aid and Awards
Room 422 University Centre
65 Chancellor’s Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2