Understanding Your Student Loan

Let us show you how.

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.

Student Loan Process

The Student Aid Alberta Service Centre (SAASC) is available to answer your questions about:

    • eligibility for student aid
    • how to apply for loans, grants and Student Aid Alberta scholarships
    • type of funding available
    • how to repay your student loans

SAASC also administers your Alberta student loans, including disbursing your student loans into your bank account and collecting your student loan payments when it's time to repay.

You can contact SAASC representatives through online services, email and/or telephone:

If you have questions about your Canada student loans, contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC):

How do I apply for Alberta student aid?

Refer to the How to Apply section including the Student Loans and Grants Funding Guide (formerly Quick Tips) for further information:

If you haven’t already applied, you can register for a SFS account and apply online:

You only need to submit one application to be considered for Alberta and Canada student loans and grants.

How do I get my student loan funds?

If this is the first time you have applied for Alberta student aid, you will receive a Student Award Letter along with your one-time Master Student Financial Assistance Agreements (MSFAAs).

When you provide your banking details with your completed and signed MSFAAs, and once your school confirms your registration, SAASC and/or the NSLSC will deposit your loan funding into your bank account.

You will also receive notification of the payment including:

    • total amount paid
    • amount sent to you
    • amount sent to your school for tuition
    • an up-to-date total balance owing for your student loans

For more information, see:

What are my responsibilities once I receive student loans?

Although you apply using one application form, most students apply for and receive both Alberta and Canada student loans. These are separate loans with distinct terms and require separate payments.

For more information, see:

How do I keep my loans interest-free?

To keep your loans interest-free while you are in school, you will need to:

    • Confirm your enrolment in a post-secondary program of study
    • Keep your contact information up-to-date

How do I confirm that I am enroled in a post-secondary program of study?

Each time you return to school, you must confirm your enrolment to keep your student loans interest-free:

    • Your loans will automatically stay interest-free if you apply for student aid and your enrolment is confirmed.

    • You must complete a form to keep your loans interest-free, if you are enrolled in school but not receiving student aid.

For additional info, see:

Making sure your loans stay interest-free will save you money.

How do I keep my contact information up-to-date?

Let us know if your contact information has changed. You can register and use convenient online services to update your personal information including:

    • address
    • phone number
    • email

Visit Student Aid Alberta Service Centre's Online Loan Services to update your contact information:

 

Loan Lifecycle

Each of your student loans has three periods/stages:

  1. In-Study Period
  2. Grace Period
  3. Repayment Period

 

 Student Loan Lifecylce Chart
In-Study Period

The In-Study Period refers to the time during which you are studying. You are not required to make any payments and your loan is interest-free during this time.

Grace Period

The Grace Period is the six-month period that starts after each academic year-end date. This is a transition stage of the student loan lifecycle. Payments are not required. While interest is not charged on your Alberta student loan, interest will start to accumulate on your Canada student loan. 

Repayment Period

The Repayment Period is the time when you must repay your student loans. Repayment begins six months after you leave school. In technical terms, this means the first day of the seventh month from your academic year-end date. Payments tend to be due near the end of the month, unless you asked for different payment dates.

Grace Period

The Grace Period is a six-month period that starts after each academic year-end date. This is a transition stage of the student loan life cycle.

Your Alberta student loans will remain interest-free and payment-free for six months. This gives you some breathing room before you must start making payments. However, interest will begin to accumulate on your Canada student loans.

The following table illustrates how interest accumulates during the grace period on your Canada student loan.

Interest on Canada student loans during Grace Period

To determine the daily interest charge:

        Balance of loan x interest rate = daily interest

                     365 days/year           

        Example: $10,500.00 X 5% = $1.44 daily interest

                         365 days/year

        Next take the number of days in a typical 6-month grace period x daily interest

        Example:  184 days in a grace period x $1.44 = $264.96 total interest owing

Total balance when repayment begins: $10,500 + $264.96 = $10,764.96

How do I know if my loan is in the Grace Period?

In the last month of your studies, the Student Aid Alberta Service Centre (SAASC) and the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) will send you a letter advising you of your approaching academic year-end date and that your loan will be entering the Grace Period.

In the fourth month of your grace period, you will receive a letter from SAASC and NSLSC explaining:

    • The steps you should take to confirm your enrollment if you are returning to school.
    • Your current balance and an overview of your repayment arrangement if you are not returning to school.

What do I need to do if I am returning to school?

When you return to school, you must confirm you are enrolled in a post-secondary program before the end of your six-month Grace Period:

    • If you confirm enrollment, accumulated interest on your Canada student loan will be waived.
    • If you do not confirm enrollment, your student loans will enter repayment.

For instructions on how to confirm enrollment:

Does interest accumulate during the Grace Period if I am not returning to school?

Student Aid Alberta will not charge you interest on your Alberta student loans during the Grace Period. However, interest will begin to accumulate on your Canada student loans if you do not return to school.

You have two options regarding payment of interest accumulated on your Canada student loans during the Grace Period:

  1. Pay this interest prior to your loans entering repayment. Then you can claim a tax credit on this interest, and your monthly payment amount may be slightly reduced.

    You can choose to make:
    • A one-time lump sum payment prior to your loans entering repayment.
    • Payments at any time throughout the Grace Period as the interest accumulates.

  2. Add the interest to the balance of your Canada student loan.
    • This is done automatically if the interest is not paid when your loans enter repayment.
    • You cannot claim the tax credit on interest that is added to your loan balance.