Repaying your Canada Student Loans
If the thought of repaying your student debt is daunting, take a deep breath and know that there is help. The Canadian Government is committed to ensuring there are resources and assistance available to those who owe money for their education.
Once you have completed post secondary school or are no longer enrolled make sure you take the following steps to resolve your student loan(s):
Know How Much to Pay
- If you applied for your loans through your provincial/territorial student assistance office, don’t assume you only have one loan to repay. In some provinces and territories, Canada student loans are issued separately by each branch of government. You may have to make payment arrangements with more than one lender
Know When to Make Your Payments
Repayment on your student loans will begin for a variety of different reasons
- If you have graduated from your studies
- If you have transferred to part-time study
- If you have stopped attending school
- If you are taking time off from school for more than 6 months
- If you have reached your lifetime limit for financial assistance
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTACT YOUR LOAN PROVIDER TO MAKE PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS!!!!
Most government student loan programs allow for a six (6) month grace period before your first payment is due. Interest typically starts accruing immediately though, so if you are able to start making payments immediately. If you do not contact your lender, they may begin withdrawing funds out of the account where the money was originally deposited.
Lifetime Limits on Financial Assistance
- There are lifetime limits on the financial assistance you are eligible to receive
- Student financial assistance includes the loans borrowed and the interest free status of your loans
- Once you have reached your lifetime limit, your loans will require repayment even if you are still enrolled in school
- Click here to learn more about lifetime limits
How to Make Payments
- You should be contacted by mail indicating when your loan repayment is to begin and how long it will take to pay off - If you do not receive any notification, be sure to contact your lender within six (6) months after discontinuing your studies
- Find out the total amount and interest rate of your loan(s)
- Find out the monthly payment, due date and determine if you will have the funds automatically withdrawn, make your payments on-line or mail in a cheque.
- Make sure you review the terms, sign and return them to the lender (even if you do not sign and return the terms, your payments will still be due on the date indicated)
- You can always pay more than the minimum due without notifying your lender
What Happens If You Don’t Repay
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, the last thing you should do is ignore your creditors. Communication is the key to your financial success especially when things don’t look so good. In the event you do not pay your Canadian student loans when required, you could be subject to any or all of the following:
- Additional interest charges
- The loss of future financial assistance for education
- You could be reported to a collection agency
- You may suffer a bad credit rating
- You could lose future income tax refunds
- You could face legal action
None of these consequences are worth it, so utilize your resources and take responsibility.
Temporary Interest Relief
If you are unemployed or have low income, you may qualify for a 6 month deferment of payments and interest on your student loans. During this period, the government pays the interest on your loans. Interest relief is granted for 6 month periods up to a total of 54 months. If you are able to make payments during your period of interest relief, they are applied directly to your principal balance. There are eligibility rules for Interest Relief that consider your income, your residency, the status of your loan, and your loan agreement. You must meet all eligibility requirements in the month you apply. Click here to find out more information regarding Temporary Interest Relief.
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