Understanding your Student Loans

Budgeting & Saving

Set up a budget and spending plan before you start school and again before your payments begin – and revise it whenever your situation changes.

Some expenses can be difficult to predict, but if you create a spending plan that includes money for unexpected costs you will be able to manage your money better – and this will definitely save you lots of stress!

Remember to review and revise your budget whenever needed. Plan on doing this at least a couple times a year so that you can stay on track. Managing your money can be easy – it just takes on-going awareness of where you are at and a little organization.

For more information, see:

Student Loan Process

Understanding your student loan while in school and before you finish your studies can help you manage your student loan now and down the road. Go to the Alberta Student Aid website for answers to the following questions:

    • How do I apply for Alberta student aid?
    • How do I get my student loan funds?
    • What are my responsibilities once I receive student loans?
    • How do I keep my loans interest-free?
    • How do I confirm that I am enroled in a post-secondary program of study?
    • What is a Loan Life Cycle?
    • How do I know if my loan is in the Grace Period?
    • What do I need to do if I am returning to school?
    • Does interest accumulate during the Grace Period if I am not returning to school?

Nearing Graduation or Withdrawing

In Study

You are in school

Interest free period.

No payments required. However, you are able to make payments at any time to pay your loan off faster.

In Grace

The 6-month period after you finish school

Interest free period.

Begins the first day of the next month, after your period of study end date. No payments required. However, you can make payments while you are In Grace to pay your loans off faster.

In Repayment

Begins the 1st day of the 7th month after your loan is In Grace

Interest accrues daily and is calculated monthly.

A monthly payment schedule is set up for you automatically. You can change the frequency of payments from monthly to biweekly or weekly, by calling the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre and the National Student Loan Service Centre.

Post Graduation

Now that you have graduated (and your grace period is up) it is time to start paying off your student loan.

Learn more about your options and payment methods:

How can I create and manage my online account?

How can I access my Digital Mail?

What if I miss a payment?

There are many consequences if you miss even one payment on your provincial or federal student loan:

  • Your credit rating is immediately affected.
  • Your loans may be sent to a collection agency.
  • Any GST or income tax refunds may be automatically used to repay the defaulted loans.
  • The provincial and federal governments may take legal action.

What is a credit rating?

A credit rating is an evaluation of the history of your loan repayment. Having a good credit rating will maximize your opportunities to qualify for credit cards or future loans (perhaps for a new car or house), or even to be able to rent an apartment.

How does repayment affect my credit rating?

Student loans are just like any other loan. They must be paid back. When you receive your first Alberta and Canada student loans, these are reported to the credit bureau.

You build a positive credit rating by making payments towards your student loans on time, each month. When you do not make your loan payments on time, you will create a negative credit rating.

What is a credit bureau report?

A credit bureau report includes information about the amount of your outstanding debt and the amount of credit available to you.

This report registers your new debt. When your student loans enter repayment, your payment history is reported each month and will become part of you credit history.

How can I find out my credit rating?

There are two main credit reporting agencies in Canada: TransUnion and Equifax. To find our your current credit rating, you can contact either of these agencies to request a report.

If you have any questions about Alberta or Canada student loans please contact the registrar.