From Start to Finish: Applying for a Student Loan in Canada



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Canada Student Loans

Taking out a loan as a Canadian student is quite an easy task. You can easily fill out a student loan application online. However, there are certain conditions and processes you need to be familiar with.

Over the years, Canada has maintained competition with its American counterpart as the most preferred destination for students seeking to study abroad due to its high-quality education and lower tuition.

Despite these advantages, many Canadian students still require some form of financial aid, either in terms of grants or loans, to help them get through their post-secondary education.

This article will guide you through the steps you need to take to apply for a student loan in Canada, the documents required, and the amount covered under the Canadian student loan.

Types of Student Loans in Canada

There are two types of loans designed by the Canadian government to help students through their post-secondary education

  •      The Federal Student Loan

    These are financial aid programs created by the Federal Government of Canada, referred to as the Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP).
  •      Provincial Student loans

You can also apply for loans through your province or territory, even if your school is in another region. A provincial loan is usually an option for students who have been denied federal loans or have exhausted their aid at the federal level.

Things to Consider before applying for a student loan in Canada


You must meet certain conditions to be eligible for a Canadian student loan.

  • Be a Canadian citizen, a protected person, or a permanent resident of Canada.
  • Financial status: You must be able to establish the need for financial assistance.
  • Evidence of school enrolment: Be registered in a degree, diploma, or certificate program spanning between 12 – 15 weeks
  • Minimum course load: As a full-time student, you are expected to offer at least 60% of a full course load or a minimum of 20-59% as a part-time student
  • Credit check: If you are applying for a Canadian student loan for the first time and are up to 22 years or older, you must pass a credit assessment.
  • Lifetime Limit: You should be within the maximum lifetime limit of financial assistance to qualify for a student loan in Canada
  • Academic Record: You must keep an excellent academic record

Bank Education Loans in Canada

Sometimes, students cannot take a federal or provincial loan and have to opt for other financial institutions. If you are considering taking an education loan from a bank, then you must take note of the following;

  • the bank’s processing fee
  • interest rate
  • extent of expenses covered by the loan as, well as the
  • scheduled repayment terms and duration

Always take your time to compare the rates and choose the bank that offers the best deals and the least restricting conditions.

Canada Student Loan Application process

To get started with either the federal or provincial student loan in Canada, you are expected to apply via the student financial assistance office of your province of permanent residence.

A single application will evaluate you for provincial student loans, Canadian student loans, and Canadian student grants.

Offline or Online Application

Most of the provinces have their applications online and offline. For the offline application, which is in paper format, you can get the form from your provincial student financial assistance office or at your enrolled school.

This process usually takes 4-6 weeks for assessment. Students who wish to go through faster means should consider the online application.

When Can I Apply for Student Loans

Always put in your student loan application months earlier to avoid assessment delays. Sending in your application on time gives you enough time to rectify any issues before the deadline.

Things that can delay/hinder your application include:

  • Incomplete application
  • Incomplete documentation
  • Fake documents

Review your program 

It is important to review your provincial financial aid program as you may likely be qualified for additional forms of aid that need a separate application. Additionally, you must apply yearly to continue getting your loan funds.

Provinces and their application link

Alberta Student Loan

The Alberta Learning Information Service provides school loans, bursaries, scholarships, and financial planning resources.

Newfoundland and Labrador Student Loan

Newfoundland and Labrador offer full-time and part-time student loans like every other province. You can learn about the process via Newfoundland and Labrador Student Aid. Apply here.

New Brunswick Student Loan

If you are a permanent resident of New Brunswick, you can apply for either full-time or part-time student aid via New Brunswick’s Student Financial Services here.

Manitoba Student Loan

Canadian students in Manitoba can access and apply for a student loan via the Manitoba Student Aid. Medical students are implored to review the unique column on medical grants. Apply here.

Yukon Territory Student Loan

The first step is to check if you are qualified for a student loan in the Yukon territory. Then begin your application process through Yukon Student Financial Assistance.

British Columbia Student Loan

StudentAidBC offers school loans, scholarships, grants, etc., and has consideration for applicants with dependents, disabilities, or severe conditions within the British Columbia territory.

Prince Edward Island Student Loan

You can apply for either full-time or part-time funding in Prince Edward Island through PEI Student Financial Services.

Northwest Territories Student Loan

You can get information on student loan policies, student handbooks, processes, and applications for student loans from Northwest Territories through the NWT Student Financial Assistance. Apply here.

Nova Scotia Student Loan

The Nova Scotia Student Assistance department is where permanent residents of Nova Scotia get all their information on their student loans. Also, you can apply and search for approved institutions via the link.

Saskatchewan Student Loan

Saskatchewan province provides information on student loans through the Saskatchewan Student Financial Assistance program. Apply here.

Ontario Student Loan

Ontario provides its residents with financial aid through student loans, scholarships, grants, and bursaries. Either as a full-time or part-time student, you can start your application process through the Ontario Student Assistance Program. Apply for OSAP.

Quebec Student Loan

Students who reside within the Quebec province can apply for loans and bursaries through the Aide financiere aux etudes. Apply here.

Loan Funds available to students in Canada

The amount of funding you get for your student loan is dependent on several factors;

  • Stipulated Needs

Loan funds vary based on your stipulated need, which will be calculated through your assessed need. The assessed need is the difference between allowable educational costs and the amount required of you to pay based on the available financial resources.

  • Duration of enrolments

The amount available for student loans varies depending on your enrollment length. For a full-time student, the Canada student loan offers 60% of the evaluated need and about $210 weekly for study time. The outstanding 40% may be provided via the provincial student loans program.

  • Academic program

There is a maximum lifetime limit of 340 weeks of support for full-time students, with an extra 60 weeks for students registered in doctoral studies.

On the other hand, part-time students can get about $10,000, including principal and interest, throughout their academic program. Also, part-time students have no maximum limit of support.

Loan Interest and repayment

As a full-time student with a student loan, the Canadian Government will pay the interest accrued on your Canadian student loan while still schooling. However, part-time students are not sponsored by the Canadian Government. They are in charge of offsetting their loan interest.

After the application

After you have sent in your application, you will be assessed to confirm your eligibility, your enrollment status, and the authenticity of your application.

Once this is done, you will get a notification to verify how much loan funds you are eligible for from your province or territory. Also, you will receive a legal document binding you and the loan provider

Carefully go through the document to ensure all details are stated accordingly.

Student Loan Appeal in Canada

If your student loan application is denied, and you feel you were not evaluated correctly or your needs were not considered relatively, you can file an appeal to have the evaluation of your application reviewed.

Student loan appeal forms are obtainable from the provincial student financial assistance office.

Loan Approval 

Students who are deemed eligible for a loan will be offered a certificate of eligibility alongside a loan agreement document. The loan agreement document entails the funding amount, how to receive the fund, repayment terms, and schedule.

After documentation, a student will either get the single incorporated loan which is both a federal and provincial loan, or a Canadian student loan together with a provincial student loan, depending on the province or territory.

Canadian Student Loan Management

Your Canada student loan or joint student loan will be executed by the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) on behalf of the Government. Once your application has been approved, all your dealings after that will be with NSLSC.

Depending on your loan circumstances, you may be required to bring in additional documents to the NSLSC to sustain or alter your loan status.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.