Over the years, Canada has maintained a 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, a lot of 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.
Taking a loan as a Canadian student is quite an easy task. However, there are certain conditions and processes you need to be familiar with. 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 LoanThese 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 the province or territory where you reside, 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 aids at the federal level.
Things to Consider before applying for a student loan in Canada
To be eligible for a Canadian student loan, you have to meet certain conditions.
- 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 you are up to 22 years or older, then 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 are unable to take a federal or provincial loan and have to opt for other financial institutions. If you are considering taking an education loan in 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 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.
With a single application, you will be evaluated 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 a 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 delay in assessment. 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
The Alberta Learning Information Service provides school loans, bursaries, scholarships, and financial planning resources.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Like every other province, Newfoundland and Labrador offer full-time and part-time student loans. You can learn about the process via Newfoundland and Labrador Student Aid. Apply here.
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.
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.
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.
StudentAidBC offers school loans, scholarships, grants, etc. and also has consideration for applicants who have dependents, disabilities or severe conditions within the British Columbia territory.
Prince Edward Island
Through the PEI Student Financial Services, you can apply for either full-time or part-time funding in Prince Edward Island.
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.
The Nova Scotia Student Assistance department is where permanent residents of Nova Scotia get all information on their student loans. Also, you can apply and search for approved institutions via the link.
Saskatchewan province provides information on student loans through the Saskatchewan Student Financial Assistance program. Apply here.
Ontario provides financial aid to its residents through students loan, 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.
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 a number of 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 enrolled length. For a full-time student, the Canada student loan offers 60% of the evaluated need and about $210 weekly 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 Canada 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.
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 that is both 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 the circumstance surrounding your loan, you may be required to bring in additional documents to the NSLSC to sustain or alter your loan status.