Repayment Assistance for Borrowers with a Disability

Alberta RAP-D

Reg.: Schedule 2, s. 34(5)

RAP-PD has been changed to RAP-D to reflect changes in response to the modernization of the disability definition.

This is a version of the Repayment Assistance Plan that offers accelerated loan repayment for borrowers with a disability (i.e., a permanent disability (PD), or a persistent or prolonged disability (PPD)).

RAP-D allows a borrower’s balance owing to be reduced to zero after 10 years (instead of the usual 15 years for other borrowers), after which time no debt will exist.

Alberta RAP-D is not available on Alberta student loans that have already been returned to the Government of Alberta due to default. 

Borrowers must submit a new RAP application every 6 months. One Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Disability Application can be submitted to the National Student Loans Service Centre for RAP-D consideration on both Canada and Alberta student loans. However, if a student only has Alberta student loans, they must submit their Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Disability Application to the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre.

Borrowers applying for RAP-D as having a persistent or prolonged disability (PPD) are required to confirm their ongoing disability status through verifications and attestations.

Borrowers who have not had their PPD previously verified with the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program or a participating province or territory prior to their RAP-D application must provide proof of their PPD. This can be done through the RAP-D Verification of Disability Questionnaire and related documentation. There is also flexibility to accept any documentation that sufficiently demonstrates that the borrower has a PPD as defined by the Regulations. The Disability Verification form or questionnaire is available in the Applications and Forms section. 

If approved, the borrower must thereafter attest for subsequent RAP-D applications. A new verification is required if the borrower reapplies for RAP-D after attesting to no longer having a PDD, or as a result of periodic audit and verification.

Borrowers who were previously verified and received PPD support while in-study may have to provide verification with their initial RAP-D application. Borrowers who are not required to provide verification would provide an attestation to indicate their PPD is ongoing.

Given the RAP threshold differences between the provincial and federal government, borrowers transitioning from RAP-D (due to a Persistent or Prolonged Disability), may have a different provincial RAP status (Stage 1 or 2) on their federal RAP status.

Special Consideration

Reg.: Schedule 2, s. 31(b)

Special Consideration is available on Alberta Student Loans only. This includes risk-shared, guaranteed and direct loans. The program removes a borrower’s Alberta Student Loans from active collection. A borrower may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • the borrower has a functional limitation caused by a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits their ability to earn a living,
  • the borrower’s financial situation does not allow them to make their Alberta student loan payments, and
  • the borrower’s financial resources (e.g., savings, RRSPs, bonds, etc.) are not enough to substantially reduce the balance of their Alberta student loan.

To apply for Special Consideration, a borrower can provide proof of approval by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program for Severe Permanent Disability Benefit (SPDB).

If a borrower has not received approval for SPDB, the borrower must contact the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre to request the following forms to apply for Special Consideration:

  • Application for Special Consideration for Alberta Student Funding (Form L)
  • Income and Expense Statement (Form J), and
  • Medical Questionnaire (Form K). Alberta Student Aid will accept copies of other similar medical documentation dated within the past 12 months, or an approval letter from a financial support group (such as Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit).

Once completed, the forms must be submitted to Alberta Student Aid as per the instructions on the forms.

The borrower is responsible for keeping their loans in good standing at all times, even while waiting for a decision to be made on their Special Consideration application. The borrower may discuss changing repayment terms or the Repayment Assistance Plan with Alberta Student Aid Service Centre while awaiting a Special Consideration decision.

Once approved for Special Consideration, the debt is returned to the Government of Alberta (Treasury Board and Finance – Crown Debt Collections) to be closed and removed from active collections. If the borrower wishes to return to studies at a later time, they must meet rehabilitation requirements for the closed debt before a new student aid application will be considered. After new funding is issued to the student, the previous debt will be transferred back to the Alberta Student Aid Service Centre.

Severe Permanent Disability Benefit (SPDB)

The Severe Permanent Disability Benefit (SPDB) is available on Canada Student Loans only, for borrowers with a severe permanent disability. Borrowers who qualify for SPDB have all of their Canada Student Loans cancelled and will be restricted from further federal funding. To apply, borrowers should contact the National Student Loans Service Centre.