Government student loans are interest free while you are undertaking your studies, and can help you to finance your education. There are two main categories of government student loan programs:
- The federal program, called the Canada Student Loans Program (for full-time and part-time students)
- Provincial and territorial programs (for full-time students)
If you still have questions about student loans after reading the information below, please contact Student Central.
You are eligible to apply for a government student loan if you are:
- A Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or designated as a protected person
- Enrolled in or qualified to enrol as a full-time* student (unless you plan to apply for a loan as a part-time student)
- Approved for a reduced course load - you must be registered in a minimum of 6 credit units per term (40% of a full course load) in order to maintain full-time status
* full time is defined as taking nine credit units per term (typically three classes for most undergraduates)
* If you are enrolled at more than one institution, to be considered a full-time student your combined course load should be equivalent to nine credit units per term (typically three classes for most undergraduates)
Loans are meant to give you a helping hand and may not pay for your entire post-secondary education. You may need to supplement your loan with other sources of funding.
Spring and Summer loans
To be eligible for a full-time student loan during the spring and/or summer terms:
- Your enrolment must be at least 6 consecutive weeks in length (except in the case where you have a student loan extended)
- You must be enrolled in 60% of a full course load, which will be defined based on the number of quarters that you are enrolled in (see chart below).
- If you are approved for a reduced course load, you must be enrolled in 40% of a full course load, which will be defined based on the number of quarters that you are enrolled in (see chart below).
You are ineligible for student loan funding for any time period when you are registered in 0 credit units.
|Quarter registered in||Minimum credit units required||Reduced Course Load||Start/end dates|
|Q1 extension (see below)||2 credit units or more||1.5 credit units or more||May 8 – May 31|
|Q1, Q2||4 credit units or more||3 credit units or more||May 8 – June 26|
|Q1, Q2, Q3||6 credit units or more||4.5 credit units or more||May 8 – July 22|
|Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4||8 credit units or more||6 credit units or more||May 8 – August 16|
|Q2, Q3||4 credit units or more||3 credit units or more||June 3 – July 22|
|Q2, Q3, Q4||6 credit units or more||4.5 credit units or more||June 3 – August 16|
|Q3, Q4||4 credit units or more||3 credit units or more||June 27 – August 16|
Spring Term = Quarter 1 (Q1), Quarter 2 (Q2)
Summer Term = Quarter 3 (Q3), Quarter 4 (Q4)
Student Loan Extensions
You can get a Quarter 1 (Q1) loan extension if:
- Your period of study is September 6, 2012 to May 31, 2013 (Term 1, Term 2, and Quarter 1), and you registered in at least 9 credit units or more in each of Term 1 and Term 2, and are registered in 2 credit units or more in Quarter 1.
- Your period of study is January 3 to May 31, 2013 (Term 2 and Quarter 1), and you registered in at least 9 credit units or more in Term 2, and registered in 2 credit units or more in Quarter 1.
- Your period of study is August 23, 2012 to May 31, 2013 (Term 1-EX PR, Term 2, and Quarter 1), and you registered in at least 9 credit units or more in both Term 1 and Term 2, and registered in 2 credit units or more in Quarter 1.
Remember to indicate on your student loan application that you are applying for a Quarter 1 extension loan.
If your program involves one or more practicum/internship placements, these placements may be eligible for additional financial assistance. Please contact your provincial/territorial government to see if you are eligible for additional funding.
Full-time Canadian students
Make sure you apply through your province of residence—where you have lived for at least 12 consecutive months (excluding time spent as a full-time student in a post-secondary education program).
Each province/territory has its own student loan application process that you must follow. When you apply for your loan, you are automatically considered for a Canada Student Loan.
Apply as soon as you know that you will be attending the University of Saskatchewan and will need financial support. Applying early will help to ensure that your loan is processed in time for the upcoming academic year. It typically takes four to six weeks to process a loan application.
Learn more about your provincial/territorial student loan process:
Note to students with permanent disabilities: Students with permanent disabilities can access other financial assistance through the Government of Canada and through provincial/territorial programs. For more information, visit the Government of Canada financial assistance for students with permanent disabilities page.
Note to students who are enrolled at more than one institution: Please complete the dual registration form (PDF). Your combined course load should be equivalent to nine credit units per term (typically three classes for most undergraduate students).
Part-time Canadian students
The Government of Canada provides financial assistance (grants and loans) to help part-time students across Canada access post-secondary education. The government pays the interest on part-time student loans while in-study (as of January 1, 2012). The maximum total amount of part-time loans is $10,000. Only the Government of Canada offers loans and grants to part-time students.
Students from the United States
The University of Saskatchewan is a fully licensed institution with the US Department of Education and participates in the Direct Loans program.
Students in some colleges are not eligible: Currently, international students from the United States in programs offered by the College of Medicine, College of Nursing and/or programs or courses that are offered via distance learning are not eligible for US Direct Loans.
- Submit a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Sign in to FAFSA to access:
- Financial Awareness Counseling
- Entrance Counseling (must be completed before the first loan payment can be disbursed)
- Sign Master Promissory Note (must be completed before the first loan payment can be disbursed)
- Complete PLUS Request Process
- Endorse Direct PLUS Loan
- Sign in to FAFSA to access:
Prepare to receive your loan
Ensure full-time registration
Ensure you are registered full-time for the period of study on your assessment letter. The university will not be able to confirm that you are enrolled at the U of S if you have not registered for classes.
- To be considered a full-time student you must maintain an enrolment of 60% -100% of a full course load (40% for students with a permanent disability). At the University of Saskatchewan, full-time undergraduate students are those who are registered in 9 or more credit units per term (6 credit units for students with a permanent disability) during the Fall and Winter terms.
Paying tuition with an alternative method of payment
If you plan to use an alternate method of payment for your tuition (i.e., MasterCard), you must make payments before your loan documents are confirmed (i.e.: 21 days prior to the period of study start date) to avoid having tuition remitted off your loan.
Check for oustanding balance
It is university policy that total assessed tuition and fees, for the loan period, be deducted from your student loan if available. It is your responsibility to check your account balance in PAWS to ensure that there is no outstanding balance.
Register with the National Student Loans Service Centre
We encourage you to register with the National Student Loans Service Centre. Through this service you can:
- Check the status of your student loan
- Check the balance of your loan(s)
- Review details of new loans you've recently received
- Update your Mailing and Permanent Addresses and other contact information on-line
- Review your loan payment and transaction history
- Receive helpful information about your loan in your Personal Message Centre
- Customize your repayment
Once your application has been assessed, you will receive an information package including:
- Your Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA);
- Instructions on how to get your Canada-Saskatchewan Integrated Student Loan; and
- An Assessment Letter with information on the amount of your student assistance and the payment schedule of your student loan and grants.
Take your signed MSFAA along with valid government identification and your Social Insurance Number (SIN), to:
- A designated Canada Post outlet
- The Ministry of Advanced Education located in Regina; or
- If studying outside Canada, or if you cannot access a designated Canada Post outlet, mail your documents along with copies of your government-issued identification to the.
Once your loan agreement is processed, the NSLSC will ask us to confirm your enrolment at the U of S.
Once your enrolment is confirmed, the NSLSC will electronically deposit funds into the bank account that you provided on the MSFAA. Funds will be deposited as outlined in the disbursement schedule in your assessment letter or directly to your school to cover your academic fees.
When your student loan application is processed, you will receive an email or letter from your student-loan provider detailing your approved loan. Alternatively, they may request for you to provide more information.
Once you receive your student loan package in the mail, be sure to carefully read your loan agreement—it is a legally binding document—and follow the instructions outlined in your loan package.
It is University policy that total assessed tuition and fees, for the loan period, be deducted from student loans unless:
- Students are able to produce proof that fees have already been paid.
- Students have an out-of-province loan with a second loan disbursement, in which case:
- The amount deducted for Term 2 tuition and fees will be reduced by the amount of the second loan disbursement, and;
- Students must present a Notice of Assessment. Without this document, tuition and fees for the entire loan period will be deducted.
Maintain interest free status
While you are in school full time, your student loan(s) remain interest-free. Although you are not required to make loan payments during the first six months after you leave school, interest will begin to accumulate during this non-repayment (grace) period.
Going back to school? Reinstate your interest-free status.
To reinstate your interest-free status while re-entering school it is your responsibility to complete the appropriate documentation advising your lenders that you are a full-time student. The appropriate documentation includes a Schedule 2 Interest Free Certificate and possibly a provincial government certificate. As long as the completed documentation is provided to the lender holding your previous Canada Student Loans within six months of your previous period of study end date, no interest will be charged.
- Students from Saskatchewan and Newfoundland/Labrador—request a Schedule 2 online through the National Student Loan Service Centre Online Service site.
- Students from all other provinces and territories—file the appropriate paperwork advising your lenders that you are still a full-time student.
Repay your loan
Six months after you have completed full-time study, whether you have graduated, transferred to part-time studies, withdrawn, or you are taking time off from your studies, you will need to begin repaying your student loan. This is called student loan consolidation.
Prior to your loan(s) entering the repayment phase, the National Student Loans Service Centre will send you a Consolidation Letter and Agreement. It outlines your repayment terms and your minimum monthly payment. You also can negotiate your monthly payment amounts with the National Student Loans Service Centre, pay in lump sum or pay out your loan early. Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre if you have not received your repayment information one month before your loans consolidate.
Even though you are not required to make a payment for six months after completing your studies, interest will accumulate during this time. Any unpaid interest accumulated during this six month period will be capitalized and included in your principal balance at the time of consolidation.
Your first loan payment is due:
- On the last day of the seventh month following the date your period of study ends; or
- The end date you withdraw from studies
We encourage you to register with the National Student Loans Service Centre Online Services. Through this service, you can customize your repayment and get repayment assistance.
Register for National Student Loan Service Centre Online Services
Maintaining Your Loan While in Repayment
As a borrower, you are required to fulfill your obligations and responsibilities of the repayment terms and conditions of your loan. Missing payments could damage your credit rating, and your student loan could go into default. Defaulting on your loan will affect your credit score and in turn your ability to purchase something as simple as buying a new cell phone.
Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre before you miss a payment. There are repayment options available to help you manage your payments and avoid defaulting on your loan. If you have difficulty paying back your student loan, you can apply for the Repayment Assistance Plan.