Student Financial Aid Reduced For Month of May

Cuts Stem From The Quebec Government

Concordia’s financial aid office, located at GM-230. Photo Josh Fischlin
Concordia’s financial aid office, located at GM-230. Photo Josh Fischlin

Several Concordia students received an email from Quebec’s Aide financière aux etudes last week saying they would not be receiving as much financial aid as expected for the month of May.

This article has been updated.

The news came as a shock for second year environmental science student Stephanie Rochemont. In an email from the AFE, it states there is an update to her Financial Assistance Statement for the past year and that she would be receiving less money.

After calling the AFE to clarify the matter, Rochemont said she was told that the provincial government would not be able to fund them for May because Concordia University had told the AFE that the academic year ends on April 29.

As outlined in the university’s academic calendar, May 1 is the last day for final examinations. Summer classes officially begin on May 2.

According to Chris Mota, director of media relations at Concordia, the school actually submitted the May end-date to the AFE in 2015.

“Then, in March 2016, they took their decision to adjust our end of term date themselves to April for AFE purposes,” she explained in an email.

Rochemont will not be given $595 for the month of May. Other students will have their aid cut completely, and some might have a reduced amount depending on their financial situation.

Despite the current hiccup in aid distribution, Rochemont and the other students did receive financial aid last May. Examinations for the 2014-2015 academic year ended on May 6.

With this short notice, she isn’t sure she will be able to pay her rent, phone bill, or other expenses for that month.

“It is very short notice and unfair,” Rochemont explains. “I have an intense course load and I do work one day a week, but it isn’t enough to pay. The problem is that in April we are in exams, it is a bad time for this to happen. I want to focus on studying for my exams and not finances.”

If students have proof that they will be attending classes or exams during May, then they are eligible for appeal, according to Bryan St-Louis, who’s in charge of media relations for le Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur.

“Students can come and see us so we can help them write a revision letter to the AFE for an appeal,” said Judy Lashley, an advisor at Concordia’s Financial Aid and Awards Office.

To be eligible for an appeal, the AFE has posted guidelines to follow.

For Rochemont, this was not a sigh of relief, but she still intends to appeal the decision.

“Yesterday, instead of attending class, I applied to 30 different jobs on Craigslist and my job just can’t give me more shifts out of nowhere,” she said. “Worse comes to worse, I will have to put my expenses on my credit card.”