Let our student loan FAQs enlighten and inform you. As a graduate of post-secondary education or grad school, you may feel the pressure of paying off your loans. In the 2016-2017 academic year alone, Canada issued $2,608,000,000 in student loans to eligible students. Many Canadians rely on student loans and grants to afford tuition. Read our student loan FAQs Here are the answers to some common questions you might have about student loans in Canada:
Canadian students can apply for grants and loan funding with their province or territory. For example, Ontario students can apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), while Manitoba students can apply for Manitoba Student Aid. Here is a list of each province and territory with their respective student loan links:
- New Brunswick Student Financial Services
- Yukon Student Financial Assistance
- British Columbia Student Aid
- Manitoba Student Aid
- Alberta Student Aid
- Prince Edward Island Student Financial Services
- Quebec Student Financial Aid
- Saskatchewan Student Loans
- Newfoundland and Labrador Student Aid
- Northwest Territories Student Financial Assistance
- Nova Scotia Student Assistance
- Nunavut Student Funding
- Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
Most students submit their online applications the summer before their program begins. Experts recommend you submit your application no later than 2 months before your first day of study.
To apply for Canadian student loans in every province or territory except Quebec, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, you must be:
- A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or protected person
- Able to prove financial need
- Enrolled in at least 60% of a full course load if you’re a full-time student, or 40% if you have a permanent disability
- Enrolled in 20-59% of a full course load if you’re a part-time student
- Enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program offered by an approved post-secondary school
Students in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Quebec have different requirements for their student loans. Please contact those individual institutions for more information about financial assistance in those areas.
Yes, you can access student loan funding from banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders. However, you cannot deduct the interest paid on private student loans. You can deduct student loan interest from government loans, however, which can save you money during tax season.
Yes, you can automate your payments. Talk to your bank to set up automated payments, and register for pre-authorized debit with the National Student Loan Service Centre.
You must apply for student aid every academic year. Students’ financial situations may change each year, so a new assessment must be done to account for those changes.
The Canada Student Grant for part-time students is available for part-time students with financial need. When you apply for student aid with your province or territory, you’re automatically considered for this grant. The maximum amount of financial aid you can receive with this grant is $3,600 per year. For information about income thresholds, visit the Canadian government website.
Yes, there are lifetime limits for how long you can receive student aid. Interest will accumulate once a student reaches the lifetime limit. Moreover, students are responsible for paying loan payments 6 months after their study period or education ends, or 6 months after they graduate.
The lifetime limit for student aid for students with full-time status is 340 weeks, unless:
- A student is enrolled in doctoral studies, in which the limit is 400 weeks.
- A student has a permanent disability, in which the limit is 520 weeks.
You can create a student account with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) to monitor your student loans. You can view all of your loan details on your NSLSC account, including:
- Principal amount owing
- Interest rate
- Monthly payment amount
- Repayment start date
- Payment Method
- Estimated duration of the loan repayment period
You have a few payment method options to choose from when repaying your student loans.
Pre-Authorized Debit: Pre-authorized debit withdraws money automatically from your bank account to make your monthly student loan payments. The NSLSC automatically signs you up for pre-authorized debit if you received your student loan amount through your bank account.
Online payments: You can make online payments towards your student loan on your NSLSC account. You can also make lump-sum payments online to pay off your debt faster.
- Other payment options include:
- Telephone banking
- Monthly, post-dated cheques
- Money orders/cashier’s cheques
- Bank draft
- Online banking
The amount of money you receive is dependent on a few factors, such as:
- Tuition fees
- Living situation
- Income and assets
- Savings and financial contributions
For a more accurate estimate of your loan amount, use the Student Financial Assistance Estimator.
The application time ranges for each province and territory. It could take anywhere from 5 business days to 6 weeks.
Bankruptcy will get you out of many of your debts, but student loan debt isn’t one of them. The seven-year rule applies. Unfortunately, bankruptcy only absolves you from student loan debt if you declare bankruptcy 7 years after your last day as a student.
Our list of student loan FAQs is not exhaustive, but it should shed some light on the questions you have to start. Thousands of Canadians struggle with student loan debt, even years after they graduate. If you’re struggling to keep up with your loan payments and need assistance, consider reaching out to a credit counsellor today.
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