There are plenty of ways to pay for college in Canada, and many young people opt for student loans to pay tuition fees, room and board, textbooks, books and other expenses.
Student Loan in Canada Overview
Who Offers Student Loans
Financing is available from different sources, including the federal and provincial governments as well as private providers such as banks, finance companies, and credit unions. The Government of Canada offers federal loans to students enrolled in designated universities and colleges. The provincial governments also offer funding in the form of grants, bursaries, and loans. The rules and requirements vary by province and territory. Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, for example, have their own funding programs, and federal loans are not available. Depending on the student’s territory or province of residence, when applying for funding, students may be asked to provide information such as their bank account number in Canada, their last year’s income tax return, birth date, social insurance number, spouse or parents’ social insurance numbers, etc. Undergraduates who fail to qualify for federal or provincial assistance often apply for a loan with their local bank or credit union or a major bank such as BMO or RBC. Many financial institutions feature education or student lines of credit with reasonable interest rates to help pay major expenses such as residency and tuition fees. Personal loans are also available to meet college-related expenses and come with either variable or fixed rate. Some banks also offer scholarships based on merit and scholarships for females, indigenous and aboriginal people, children of their employees, and people in special circumstances in general.
Laws and Regulations
A number of regulations and laws govern loan provision, including the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, Canada Student Loans Act, and others. The Canada Student Loans Regulations, for example, include provisions on applicable interest rates, payment of interest rate and the principal, agreements and alterations, consolidation, reinstatement and continuation, and a lot more.
Federal Government Student Loan Programs
Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP)
Funding under the Canada Student Loan Program is available in most Canadian territories and provinces, including Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and others. There are certain eligibility criteria to meet, one being financial need. Students qualify for financial assistance provided that they are enrolled part-time or full-time in a certificate, diploma, or degree program. Permanent residents and citizens qualify for funding, and protected and designated persons are also eligible to apply. People aged 22 and over are required to pass a credit check.
The repayment period begins once people leave school, transfer from full-time to part-time studies, graduate from school, or leave school for a period of more than 6 months. There are different types of repayment assistance plans for undergraduates who find it difficult to keep up with payments, including Canada Student Loan Rehabilitation, revision of terms, the Repayment Assistance Plan, and others.
Canada Student Grants Program (CSGP)
Government grants are available to students from middle- and low-income families who are enrolled in a post-secondary program. Only people in designated institutions qualify for grants. Designated colleges and universities include the Red Deer College, Mount Royal University, College of New Caledonia, Atlantic Business College, Maritime Business College, and more.
There are plenty of options to look into, among which grants for part-time and full-time students, for persons with disabilities, people with dependents, aboriginal people, registered apprentices, and others. Full-time scholars are eligible to apply provided that they are enrolled in a certificate, diploma, or degree program. Funding is based on financial need, i.e. factors such as household annual income and family size. In addition, there are different programs to look into, examples being the Athlete Assistance Program and Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
Provincial and Territorial Student Loans
Alberta: The Alberta Learning Information Service
Scholars are eligible to apply for grants and student loans based on financial need. Funding is available to help meet expenses such as supplies and books, mandatory fees, and tuition fees. The monthly allowance is different for people with dependent children and those with no children. Students with dependents can also apply for dental, optical, and medical coverage.
British Columbia: StudentAidBC
People in British Columbia have different options to meet college expenses, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Other types of financial assistance include the Youth Educational Assistance Fund, work study programs, bursaries, awards.
Manitoba: Manitoba Student Aid
Students in Manitoba are offered financial aid in the form of bursaries, grants, and loans. Protected persons, landed immigrants, and Canadian citizens qualify for assistance. Undergraduate loans are interest-free during the repayment period and while enrolled in a diploma or degree program.
New Brunswick: New Brunswick’s Student Financial Service
Scholars in New Brunswick have access to a number of programs and services, among which personal learning and academic upgrading programs, digital literacy training, GED preparation courses, employment counseling and assistance services, financial assistance, and others. When applying for financial assistance, people are asked to provide details such as citizenship, province of residence, visible minority status, and category, i.e. married, single parent, or dependent.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Newfoundland and Labrador Student Aid
Aid is offered in the form of grants and loans and is available to part-time and full-time students as well as to persons with permanent disabilities. Applicants who are landed immigrants or Canadian citizens and demonstrate financial need qualify for assistance. To maintain eligibility, students are required to have an 80-percent course load for provincial funding and a 60-percent load for federal funding. Different types of assistance are available, including NL and Canada loans, the Canada Student Grant for Adult Learners.
Northwest Territories: NWT Student Financial Assistance
In the Northwest Territories, funding is available under the Student Financial Assistance Program. There are different types of funding for part-time and full-time students, including course reimbursement, the NWT Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities, repayable loans, remissible loans, and basic grants. Repayable loans are offered to help students meet expenses such as travel, books, tuition fees, etc. Remissible loans, on the other hand, are in the form of a monthly living allowance.
Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Assistance
There are different types of funding available, including grants and Canada Student and Nova Scotia loans. Financial assistance is available to both full- and part-time students. When applying, they are asked to provide information such as their income and spouse’s income, course description, start and end date.
Ontario: Ontario Student Assistance Program
In Ontario, funding is available to students who are enrolled in private career colleges, diploma and college programs, and universities. The type and amount of funding depends on factors such as parental income, number of children, and the year in which the student graduated from high school. Financial assistance is also available to people in special circumstances such as those on social assistance, deaf students and those with hearing problems, former and current crown wards, and other categories. Sources of funding include the indigenous people bursary, living and learning grant, and others.
Prince Edward Island: PEI Student Financial Services
People enrolled in the College de l’Ile, Maritime Christian College, Holland College, and UPEI are eligible to get a bursary in the amount of $4,400 to $8,800. There is no need to apply. They can also apply for the Government of PEI Marine Atlantic Bursary and Community Service Bursary. Loans are also offered to students from middle- and low-income families. In addition, there are different types of funding available, including the Island Student Award, Island Skills Award, George Coles Graduate Scholarship, Career Connect, and others. Debt reduction is available to scholars who are unable to keep up with repayment.
Quebec: Aide financiere aux etudes
Part-time students are offered loans while full-time students are eligible to apply for grants and loans. People with special needs are also offered material resources, special needs housing, paratransit, and specialized services. Scholars with disabilities are eligible, including those with organic and motor impairment, speech and language impairment, and severe hearing and visual impairment.
People who are unable to repay their loan are offered a deferred payment plan whereby the government of Quebec pays monthly interest on behalf of the debtor over a certain period of time /up to 6 months/.
Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Student Financial Assistance Program
The Government of Saskatchewan offers grants and loans to scholars who are enrolled in post-secondary programs. When applying for a loan, people are asked to provide personal information such as social insurance number, dependents, ancestry, program information, name of institution, and so on. Students enrolled in designated universities are eligible to apply, including St. Peter’s College, Luther College, First Nations University of Canada, University of Regina.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses and Nurse Practitioners is a program that targets healthcare practitioners and encourages them to move to small remote and rural communities. To be eligible under the program, applicants must have a license to practice in the province as a nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, or registered nurse. To apply, healthcare practitioners are asked to provide employment information such as name of facility, profession, work address, valid registration number, loan forgiveness period, and attestor or supervisor information.
Yukon Territory: Yukon Student Financial Assistance
Students in Yukon have plenty of options to explore when it comes to financial assistance, including scholarships, training allowance, Yukon Excellence Awards, Canada student grants and loans, and the Yukon Grant. The latter is offered to people enrolled in post-secondary studies, including PhD and Master’s Programs. Only scholars enrolled in designated institutions qualify, such institutions being the Yukon College and Alkan Air Flight Training.
Private Student Loans
Financial institutions in Canada offer student lines of credit, personal loans, and specialty and standard student credit cards. Big banks such as the Royal Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce offer lines of credit with competitive interest rates, extended grace periods, and flexible limits. Credit lines are offered to undergrads who are pursuing a degree in Veterinary Studies, Dentistry, Medicine, Law, Engineering, Accounting, and others. Applicants are asked to provide proof of citizenship or residency status, list of financial resources, cost estimate, and confirmation of enrollment. Examples of financial resources to include are part-time employment, government financial assistance, bursaries and scholarships, RESPs, and others. Scholars are also asked to provide a cost estimate, including travel expenses, room and board, fees, supplies and textbooks, and tuition fees. Credit unions, banks, and other establishments also offer personal loans with flexible repayment periods. Some banks offer loans with no prepayment penalty. Many finance companies and banks feature student credit cards with attractive interest rates, welcome bonuses, awards points, cash back on purchases, and other beneficial features. There are credit cards that go with sign-up bonuses, no annual fees, comprehensive travel and medical insurance, and generous discounts.
Who Offers Private Student Loans
Big banks such as TD Bank, Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC, and RBC offer private loans and other borrowing solutions. TD Bank, for example, offers home equity and personal loans to help students pay major college expenses.
Education Savings – Canada Education Savings Grant and Registered Education Savings Plans
The Canada Education Savings Grant is money contributed to a RESP by the government. The goal is to help parents save toward education. The money can be used to cover the cost of part- and full-time studies in a designated university, college, trade school, publicly funded college or pre-university, or apprenticeship program. Parents, guardians, relatives, and others that choose to open a Registered Education Savings Plan are required to make a personal contribution. For every $1 contributed, the Canada Education Savings Grant contributes 20 cents.