What are political affairs?
The political affairs component of the FMEQ ensures the representation of medical students from Quebec, particularly to government authorities. FMEQ delegates closely follow developments on the political scene that directly or indirectly affect medical students, whether in terms of their training or their future practice setting. From this perspective, health and education issues are of particular interest since medical training is located at the confluence of these two major fields prioritized by both federal and provincial governments.
Through its presence on various committees and by submitting documents to various parliamentary committees, the FMEQ helps to keep the importance of quality medical training for future physicians in the debates that drive health systems and education.
Financial aid for studies or AFE
What is AFE and what does it do for us?
Financial Assistance for Studies (AFE) is an autonomous service unit of the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport, whose mission is to promote access to studies by offering a financial assistance plan adapted to needs of the student body, in the form of loans and grants.
Banks can also provide student loans, but interest accumulates throughout your studies, and most importantly, they do not offer scholarships!
It is therefore at this level that AFE becomes interesting for students: this program offers loans whose interest and repayment begin only at the end of studies, and many scholarships which do not, by definition, need to be reimbursed.
For example, the average amount given to a fourth-year medical student who has no income from employment or scholarships is about $ 13,000, or about $ 4,000 in interest-free loans and $ 9,000 in scholarships.
When are students eligible for financial aid? You can check this in the following text.
How much are we entitled to?
The amounts offered vary greatly from one student to another as the AFE program calculates the financial needs of students and the financial contributions they receive from elsewhere.
So before we jump into the predictions, let’s take a look at how these calculations are structured.
The program calculates the financial needs of each student based on each student’s eligible expenses and their expected contributions to their studies.
Allowable expenses – Contributions = Financial needs
The program calculates eligible expenses based on living expenses (varying according to marital status, living with one’s parents or not, etc.), tuition fees, the cost of computer equipment, transportation, medical expenses, etc. For example, the government considers a student living with his parents to pay living expenses of $ 345 per month compared to $ 758 for a student not living with his parents. A questionnaire must therefore be completed during the application to the AFE in order to record all these expenses.
Then, the government takes into consideration the income of students and their parents, employment income, benefits and scholarships to calculate a contribution of the student and his family. For salaries, parents and students alike must contribute above a certain salary threshold.
Once the expenses are accepted and the contributions calculated, the first is subtracted from the second to obtain the amount that the government considers to be the student’s financial needs. The amount allocated to students therefore varies a lot. However, one rule remains: if the amount of your financial needs is greater than the loan limit, you will receive the surplus on the stock market. The loan limit is the maximum amount that the government will ask a student to repay in the future.
The loan limit is established according to the type of study program (Here, university undergraduate studies in medicine) and the duration of studies (for one year). Undergraduate university students in 2011-2012 are entitled to one $ 305 per month of study.
Your financial needs which are not covered by this monthly amount will therefore be met by scholarships. But there is of course a ceiling on this financial assistance. The maximum scholarship amount that can be awarded is $ 16,252 if you are at university in 2011-2012. This amount will vary from year to year.
Once financial assistance is calculated and awarded to you by the AFE program, you will know the distribution of payments and the proportion of loans and grants awarded to you.
Unfortunately, this help is not available to everyone. As explained earlier, the program takes into account students with contribution from parents or a spouse. Because under the Civil Code of Quebec, parents must contribute to the financing of their child’s studies (articles 507 to 609). They have a duty to feed, maintain and educate their child, even if the child is over 18 years old. So, depending on the income of your parents (or spouse), the program will decide what contribution will be requested from them for your studies.
If your parents have an income of less than $ 44,000, no contribution will be required from them. On the other hand, if they earn more than $ 44,000 a contribution will be required of them, varying for each bracket of salary earned (the more money earned, the more they must contribute.).
It may therefore be that if your parents have high incomes, the AFE will not grant you financial assistance until you are considered independent from your parents, because the amount of your parents’ contribution would be equivalent to your financial needs.
When are we considered autonomous then? The big question.
You are automatically considered independent if you have children (but here certain conditions apply), if you are an orphan, pregnant, married or if you meet certain criteria related to your studies.
For those whose parents’ income was considered high enough to have to contribute entirely to their studies, this is your way out.
According to AFE regulations, “a student who has been studying in Quebec for at least 3 years and who has accumulated 90 units in the same academic program is deemed not to receive a contribution from his or her parents or sponsor. ‘studies’. This means that all students with either a university bachelor’s degree or having completed three years of medical doctorate studies following a usual path in one of the four faculties in Quebec are considered independent.
So: cheer up, fourth-year college students!
When do we have to repay this financial assistance?
During the six months following the end of your studies, i.e. residence in your case, you benefit from a partial exemption period. You have yet to repay your AFE loans.
But, from the beginning of the month following the end of your residence, the interest on this debt becomes your responsibility. You can start paying them immediately or let them accumulate for six months before paying them. You can also request that they be funded, that is, added to your student debt.
In addition, be aware that principal and interest can be repaid over a period of fifteen years, by a predetermined monthly payment with the government.
How much is interest on loans?
Throughout your studies, the government pays the interest on the student loan you have taken out.
From the moment you start paying off your student loan debt and throughout your repayment period, you can benefit from tax relief. In fact, the governments of Quebec and Canada grant you a non-refundable tax credit for the interest you have paid on a student loan.
At the end of your partial exemption period, you are required to begin repaying your student loan debt. You must then enter into a repayment agreement with your financial institution, which will grant you a variable or fixed interest rate.
How to apply for AFE?
If you want to benefit from the Loans and Bursaries Program during your studies, you must apply for financial assistance online (www.afe.gouv.qc.ca), section Student File. But your journey doesn’t stop there! Once your application has been accepted by Aide financière aux études, you will have to complete some formalities to ensure that you receive the assistance allocated to you. Here are the steps to follow:
- Fill out the form on the website. It is necessary to have your social insurance number (SIN) and permanent code;
- Have your request approved by your university’s financial aid office, which will send your request to the ministry;
- Once the help desk approves your request, it is sent to the ministry, which will grant you an amount of loans and bursaries. This amount will be displayed in your student file on the internet (an email will also be sent to you).
- The ministry will issue a guarantee certificate which will be sent to your university’s financial aid office. You will have to go get it.
- Deposit the guarantee certificate before the deadline at one of the following financial institutions: caisse Desjardins, Bank of Montreal, National Bank or Royal Bank of Canada. The monthly amounts will then be automatically paid into your bank account.
- Update your tax returns.
The calculation simulator is a tool that lets you know the amount of financial assistance that could be granted to you under the Loans and Bursaries Program for a given year.
Financial aid offices
- Université de Sherbrooke: Local E1-117, Student life pavilion
- 819 821-7665
- University of Montreal: Pavillon J.-A.-DeSève, 2332, boul. Edouard-Montpetit
- 4th floor, room B-4439
- Laval University: Pavillon Alphonse-Desjardins, 2325, rue de 1’Université, room 2546
- McGill University: Brown Hall (Student Services, 3600 McTavish Street, Suite 3200