What is a Student Loan?

A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education. It also differs in many countries in the strict laws regulating re-negotiating and bankruptcy.
This article will review the scholarship grants and bursaries, different student loan programs in Canada as well as financial assistance for post-secondary education.

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What are Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships?

Grants, bursaries and scholarships are resources that can help students support their education. The funds need not be reimbursed and granted by governments, schools or private organizations. These are usually awarded based on merit rather than financial need, academic achievement, athletic skills or special abilities.
The following are some of the grants and bursaries available to Canadian students:
  • Canada Student Grants

  • Provincial and Territorial Grants and Bursaries

  • Learn more on the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG)

  • Funding for studying abroad

If you are a graduate student, you can also check out the Canada Graduate Scholarship Program - Master’s Scholarship, which provides funding to students who are pursuing full-time studies at the master's level in the field of social sciences and humanities. Canada Student Grants help students and their families cope with the costs of post-secondary education. Grants do not need to be paid back, foreseeable, easy to apply for, and given to students at the beginning and middle of the school year. These are available to students from most provinces and territories except Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec which operate their own student financial assistance programs.
When you apply for a Canada Student Loan, your eligibility will be evaluated automatically. You may be qualified to earn more than one grant at the same time.
The following Canada Student Grants are available:
  • Grant for Students from Low-Income Families

  • Grant for Students from Middle-Income Families

  • Grant for Students with Dependants

  • Grant for Part-Time Studies

  • Grant for Part-Time Students with Dependants

  • Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities

  • Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities

To find out about bursary programs offered in your province or territory of permanent residence, or to complete an application for full-time or part-time student loan funding, visit your province or territory’s student financial assistance office Web site.

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What are Student Loan Programs?

There are various student loan programs in Canada such as the following:
Ontario Student Assistance Program -
Full-time students are qualified for government student loan funding through the Ontario Student Assistance Program. It is a need-based program available to Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who are Ontario residents. Information and application forms for assistance programs administered by the Province of Ontario are available at Part-time students may apply for a government student loan through the Part-time Canada Student Loanprogram.

Out-of-Province Government Student Loans -
Students who are residents of other Canadian provinces may apply for a government loan from their home province. For information regarding other provincial student loan programs, consult the Web site of the provincial student assistance office. Out-of-province student assistance information and website links are available at

International Students -
International students studying on a student visa are not eligible for bank loans or government student loans in Canada. If planning to apply for landed immigrant status, students may become eligible for loans once landed status has been received.
Royal Bank Student Line-of-Credit Program -
Schulich students who are Canadian citizens or landed immigrants may apply for the Royal Bank’s Student Line-of-Credit Program. The Royal Credit Line for Students provides students of the Schulich School of Business with a personalized loan to help finance their education. Students may apply for a credit line before the academic year begins. The Royal Bank provides one-on-one professional financial advice to Schulich students through a Relationship Account Manager, helping students to manage their loans while at Schulich and following graduation. Representatives from the Royal Bank are available to meet with students on an individual basis during the first two weeks of the fall and winter terms.

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What is Financial Assistance for Post-Secondary Education?

The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials released information that scholarships, grants, and bursaries are available to both international students and Canadian students, often at the postgraduate level. They provide funds to students that do not need to be paid back. Scholarship funding in Canada is limited and highly competitive. There are also various academic and student exchange programs that provide opportunities for international students to study in Canada, or for Canadians to study abroad. Many Canadian universities and a few colleges have a limited number of scholarships or other forms of financial assistance. These vary from institution to institution. When you know the institution that you will be attending in Canada, make sure to contact their international education or financial aid offices for more information.

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Academic Excellence

Both Canadian and international students are aware that there are many opportunities open to them to further enhance their learning experience. The federal and provincial governments have joined hands with the private sector to support the advancement of academic excellence in Canada. It is a chance that should not be ignored or missed.

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