Interest Free Period for Alberta Student Loans

Reg.: Schedule 2, ss. 24(1)(c), 32

‘Interest free period’ means the continuous period commencing when a person became a full-time student or a part-time student and continuing until the last day of the sixth month following the month in which the person ceases to be such a student, but treating any break of 6 months or, in the case of a person on parental leave, 12 months or less between the times the person ceased to be a full-time student or part-time student and subsequently became a full-time or a part-time student again as not breaking that continuity.

For the purpose of determining the interest free period for Alberta Student Loans, the period of study end date is the last day of the last month of the study period for which the service provider has received confirmation of registration.

During the interest free period, loans are placed in Interest Free Status. This means the student does not have to repay their loan and the loan amount will not accrue interest.

Note: Interest for part-time Canada Student Loans and full-time Canada Student Loans is waived from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2023, regardless of whether a student is in interest free status or not.

Current Students and Interest Free Status When Receiving Alberta Student Loans

Reg.: Schedule 2, ss. 24(1)(c), 32

Full-time students in receipt of Alberta Student Aid funding for the current study period will have their outstanding Alberta Student Loans placed in Interest Free Status. This means the student will not have to repay their loan, and that the loan amount will not accrue interest while the student is in study and for six months after discontinuing studies. Full-time status is verified through confirmation of registration by the educational institution.

Students in receipt of full-time funding administered by Alberta Student Aid are also eligible for Interest Free Status on full-time Canada Student Loans.

Students in receipt of part-time Alberta Student Aid funding must complete a Form B to be placed in interest free status for their Alberta Student Loans. Students in part-time studies are not eligible for Interest Free Status on outstanding full-time Canada Student Loans and will be required to begin repayment on those loans.

Current Students and Interest Free Status When Not Receiving Student Loans

Students who return to full-time or part-time studies in a designated program but who do not receive loan funding from Alberta Student Aid for that period of study are eligible to have their outstanding Alberta Student Loans placed in interest free status. Full-time students can also have their outstanding Canada Student Loans placed in interest free status. However, part-time students do not qualify for interest free status on their outstanding full-time Canada Student Loans.

Interest free status will not be automatically applied. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the period of study end date is updated with the National Student Loan Service Centre and the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre.

Students should visit Keep Your Loans Interest Free on studentaid.alberta.ca for steps to take to keep their loans in interest-free status.

Although a student may remain in Interest Free Status for longer periods, confirmation of enrolment can only be completed for a maximum study period length of 12 months. Students who are continuing in studies for more than one year must take the appropriate steps to ensure their period of study end date is updated regularly.

See the Part-Time Student Loan and Grants Chapter – Part-Time Repayment section for more information about the repayment of part-time loans.

 

Interest Free Status for a Person on Parental Leave

Reg.: Schedule 2, ss. 24(1)(c), 24(2), 32(1)(a), 32(1)(b)

A student who takes a break from full-time or part-time studies for parental leave may apply for interest free status on their Alberta Student Loans. The interest free status lasts up to a maximum of 12 months from the last day of attendance.

Person on parental leave means:

  • a parent (whether by blood or adoption)
  • a legal guardian, or
  • an individual who becomes a step parent under circumstances recognized by the Minister,
    who ceases to be a full-time or part-time student in order to give birth to, care for or support a child who is a new addition to the family by reason of birth, adoption, legal guardianship or those step parent circumstances, as the case may be.

To apply, students can submit an Application for Interest Free Status for a Person on Parental Leave for Alberta Student Loans form.

The application form contains details about qualifying events and required documentation.

Interest Free Status for Medical Residents

Reg.: Schedule 2, ss. 1(1)(k.1), 1(5), 32

Medical residents are not required to pay interest or make payments on Alberta Student Loans while completing medical residency training. It is the responsibility of the medical resident to provide the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre with a completed Confirmation of Registration (Form B) to be eligible for interest free status. For residencies exceeding one year, a new Form B must be submitted each year.

A letter created on the educational institution or hospital’s letterhead containing all required information may also be accepted.

A medical resident is defined as a physician who is engaged in medical residency training during a period so recognized by:

  • the College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or
  • a body equivalent to one referred to in the above that is recognized by the Minister and is located outside Canada.

Note: This is applicable to Alberta Student Loans only. Medical Residents with Canada Student Loans must discuss repayment with the National Student Loans Service Centre.

Interest Free Status for Registered Apprentices

Reg.: Schedule 2, s. 1(1)(b.1), 1(6), 32

A registered Alberta apprentice recognized by Apprenticeship and Industry Training engaged in on the job training is considered a full-time student and will be considered for interest free status for Alberta Student Loans for the duration of their program and for six months after they complete their program. This does not include an apprentice who is determined to be unable to progress.

Apprenticeship and Industry Training will provide information to Alberta Student Aid on which students are registered apprentices. Alberta Student Aid will notify the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre which students should remain in interest free status for their Alberta Student Loans provided their loans are in good standing. This is applicable to Alberta student loans received during an apprenticeship program as well as Alberta student loans received for prior studies in other programs.

Interest Free Status for Canada and Alberta Student Loans for Canadian Reservists

Reg.: Schedule 2, s. 30(1)

Canadian Forces reservists who are full-time students and have interrupted studies to serve on designated operations are eligible to receive an interest free, non-repayment benefit on their student loans regardless of the duration of the operation.

For information on how to apply for interest free status go to: Aid for Reservists on canada.ca/student-financial-assistance and review the Confirmation of Posting Assignment for Full-time Students information, or contact the National Student Loans Service Centre.

If a student is approved for this benefit on a Canada student loan, the Alberta student loan will also be placed in interest free status.