Student loans enable many to attend post secondary school. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Government student loans are based on need and consider status, educational costs and living costs during one continuous period of studies (not to exceed 12 months/application). You can visit this website to help you determine eligibility www.canlearn.ca
- Government student loans are interest-free during schooling and are not re-payable for a grace period of six months afterwards (though interest accrues during this after-studies period) and interest paid is tax deductable when you are in repayment. Student loans are always preferable over student lines of credit available at banks, for these reasons as well as for repayment program options.
- Many students receive some of their funding in the form of grants.
Apply for your loan through the province where you lived for the most recent 12 months while not at college or university. (For example if you moved to Lethbridge from BC since September of last year, you are a BC resident, even if you now reside in Alberta.)
- Alberta residents: http://www.studentaid.alberta.ca
- BC residents: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentaidbc/welcome.htm
- SK residents: http://www.aeel.gov.sk.ca/student-loans/
- MB residents: http://www.gov.mb.ca/educate/sfa/pages/sfaFrontDoor_en.html
- ON residents: http://osap.gov.on.ca/
- NB residents: https://www.studentaid.gnb.ca/
- NS residents: http://studentloans.ednet.ns.ca/
- NL residents: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/studentaid/
- Yukon residents can find information at: http://www.education.gov.yk.ca/advanceded/sfa/index.html
- NWT information is available at: http://www.nwtsfa.gov.nt.ca/
- Program costs are available here.
- Student loans cover standard tuition and fees which are typically remitted directly from the loan to the school. Some fees are not allowed to be charged directly against the loans – laptops, daycare and residence fees must be paid separately. Student loans are typically disbursed more heavily in the fall term than in the winter term; it is important that student loan borrowers read their Notices of Assessment carefully and budget accordingly.
- Nursing students must apply for loans as Lethbridge College students even though they apply for admission through the University of Lethbridge.
APPRENTICES should check out Tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca for more information on grants and awards.
Apprenticeship students can complete the apprenticeship income support grant form online, then print and mail it. Please note that the grant application must be processed prior to the end of the training period. The online form offers help (click on the question mark) or an applicant may want to view completion instructions online (second link):
Completed documents and supporting documents must be mailed to:
Alberta – Apprenticeship Grants Western Processing Centre
Calgary South Service Canada Centre
100-6712 Fisher Street SE
Calgary AB T2H 2A7
Post Secondary Part Time Funding
- Students taking fewer than 12 credits/term (until July 1, 2013, after which full-time status will be 9 credits/regular term) may be eligible for a Part Time Bursary of $600 or a Part Time Canada Student Loan. Students with very high need may be considered for slightly more depending on reasons for part time study.
- Forms are available at the Lethbridge College Financial Aid Office and require authorization by Student Awards staff. They can also be downloaded in PDF format from www.studentaid.alberta.ca. The College Financial Aid staff will courier applications to Edmonton at no charge but these can take up to six weeks to be processed so plan ahead.
Loan Repayment Tips
The most important things to remember about loan repayment
- Never miss a payment.
- While your grace period is 6 months and you do not have to make a payment over this time, interest is accruing, so it is in your best interest to make payments as soon as you can – you can do this during the grace period.
- If you have any trouble with payment, contact your lenders immediately: there are programs that can help with almost any circumstance – don’t ever just ignore your debt because you can’t afford it.
- You can repay before the six months end – in fact you can make lump sum or one-time extra payments anytime (this will reduce your principal and repayment period or choose to increase your payments by even $20 a month and make a noticeable difference in interest saved and repayment term).
- You need to ensure that all of your contact information is current with both lenders (unless you are funded by an integrated province).
- Remember many provinces require two payments and one is always a lesser amount and will be paid off before your Canada Student Loan – when you receive your notice that your Alberta (or BC, or Manitoba) has been repaid, remember that you may still owe on your Canada Student Loan.
- Changing your payments to biweekly instead of monthly can save you a lot of money and shorten your repayment period.
- Interest rate is prime for Alberta (or you can lock in at the current prime rate plus 2%- this option is less popular).
- The “floating” interest rate for Canada Student Loans is prime + 2.5% or you can lock in at prime + 5% (this is rarely recommended).
- Basically, the longer your repayment period, the more your loan costs you, so anything you can do to speed things up is to your benefit.
- If you have an Alberta Loan and you are graduating, you may be eligible for the Alberta Completion Incentive Grant – it will be automatic if you indicated that you were in your final year – if you did not indicate that this was your final year of studies you should contact Student Aid Alberta to let them know you will be eligible (1-855-606-2096).
- You can renegotiate your Alberta repayment terms with Edulinx at www.edulinx.ca anytime or 1-866-827-0310 and with the National Student Loans Service Centre at https://nslsc.canlearn.ca/eng/register.aspx or by calling 1-888-815-4514.
Frequently Asked Questions