Canada Student Loans - Eligibility

2. Eligibility

To qualify, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or designated as a protected person;
  • be a permanent resident of a province or territory that issues Canada Student Loans (Note: The Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec operate their own student loan programs. Contact your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office for more information);
  • demonstrate financial need;
  • be enrolled in at least 60 percent of a full course load (40 percent for students with permanent disabilities) if you are a full-time student;
  • be enrolled in 20-59 percent of a full course load if you are a part-time student (if you are a student with permanent disabilities and you are studying between 40-59 percent of a full course load, you can choose to be considered a student in full or part-time studies);
  • be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program offered by a designated post-secondary school that runs for at least 12 weeks within a 15-week period;
  • pass a credit check if you are 22 or older and are applying for your first Canada Student Loan; and
  • not have exhausted your maximum lifetime limit for financial assistance (including interest-free status).

Need assessment tables can help you figure out whether or not you might be eligible for financial assistance.

Note: To continue receiving student loans and grants each year you are in school, you must maintain satisfactory grades.

Maximum lifetime limit for student financial assistance

There are lifetime limits on the amount of student financial assistance you can receive. This includes both loans and interest-free periods for each loan. Once a lifetime limit has been reached, interest starts to accumulate. You will also have to start paying back the loan six months after you graduate or leave your studies.

Lifetime limits for Canada Student Loans vary:

  • Full-time students who received loans on or after August 1, 1995, are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 340 weeks.
  • Full-time students enrolled in doctoral studies are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 400 weeks.
  • Students with either a permanent disability or who received Canada Student Loans before August 1, 1995, are eligible to receive student financial assistance for no more than 520 weeks.

Not applicable to you?

Is a Canada Student Loan not applicable to you? Use the Benefits Finder to find other Government of Canada, provincial, or territorial benefits.

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