Canadian Student Loans
A university degree can be costly. Even if you have been saving for years, you may find that you still need to borrow money for your post-secondary education. The Government of Canada and most provincial and territorial governments work together to deliver federal and provincial student loan and grant programs.
You are responsible for meeting the basic costs of your post-secondary education. The purpose of government student financial assistance is to supplement the financial resources that you and your family contribute. Assistance is based on financial need as established by the assessment of your student loan application.
You only need to submit one application, through your provincial student loan office, to apply for both federal and provincial student loan funding. To qualify for a full-time loan, you must be registered in a minimum of in nine credit hours (12 credit hours for Newfoundland). Students with less than full-time credit hours can apply for a part-time student loan through their province of residency. For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit CanLearn.
Student Loans 101
First time applying for student loans? Looking for some guidance?
The Financial Aid & Awards team offers several Student Loans 101 Workshops over the summer, where our expert staff will walk you through the Nova Scotia Student Loan application step-by-step.
Click here to learn more about the workshops and how to register!
Provincial Student Loan Offices
Processing Your Student Loan
Once you have applied for your student loan, complete your registration for both the fall and winter semesters no later than August 1. Full-time student loans are sent directly to the Service Centre. In early August, the number of courses you are taking and your tuition and fees for the academic year will be confirmed. Information about the processing of your student loan can be provided by your province. This process is continued in December, May, and July for the winter, spring and summer semesters.
Withdrawing from Courses
Be cautious of dropping classes while on student loans because it may affect your funding. To avoid issues, contact your provincial student aid office before dropping a course.
Interest-Free Request (Schedule 2)
If you had a student loan in the past, but do not plan to get a student loan for the current academic year, you will want to complete an interest-free request to ensure that your past loan does not go into repayment. These requests are typically required in September.
How to initiate an interest-free request online for AB, BC, MB*, NB, NL, NS, PE*, SK & YT (*provincial paper form also required):
- Visit canlearn.ca
a. Select “Access National Student Loans Service Centre online services” found under "More information"
b. “Sign On” or “Register” found at the bottom of the page
- Select “Confirm Your Enrollment” found on the toolbar at the top of the page
- Complete the required sections
- Submit your request
The request will be sent straight to the university and will be completed by the Service Centre. Processing by the lender takes up to 12 business days and it is the student’s responsibility to verify with the lender that the updated information has been received.
Repaying Your Student Loan
If you’ve received a student loan in the past, contact your provincial student loan office if you plan to return to school in the fall. Otherwise, your student loan will enter repayment.
Repayment is when you begin paying back your student loan because you are no longer attending a post-secondary institution. This begins six months after you’ve left school. Payments will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account at the end of each month.
If are returning to a post-secondary institution and you have applied for a full-time loan for the fall/winter semester, your previous student loan will not enter repayment.
If you’re returning to full-time studies in the fall and are no longer receiving a student loan, you need to submit a Schedule 2 – Conformation of enrolment form. Otherwise, your previous loan will enter repayment. A Schedule 2 verifies you are still a full-time student and can be requested on CanLearn. Processing may take up to 15 business days. Students should contact the National Student Loans Service Centre to verify that a Schedule 2 has been completed.