Government Student Funding

When you apply for funding from Alberta Student Aid, you are assessed to determine if you are eligible for:

  • Alberta Student Loans and Grants and/or
  • Canada Student Loans and Grants

Student loans and grants provided by the provincial or federal government are awarded based on a student’s calculated need for their study period. The study period is based on the start and end date you indicate on your application.


A student loan is money borrowed to assist you in covering the costs of attending school.

A student loan is just that – a loan that must be repaid, with interest (the rate charged for borrowing money), within a defined period of time.

Repaying Your Loans

Student loans are interest free while you are in school. After your Period of Study End Date, you are given a 6-month grace period before you have to start making payments – however, if you want to pay off your loans sooner, you are welcome to make payments at any time.

During your grace period, there is no interest on your loans.


Grants are available to students from low and middle-income families, students with disabilities, and students in special circumstances. A grant is money that you don’t have to pay back – however, it's important to know if you receive more funding than you are eligible for, you could have a grant overpayment.

Common reasons for a grant overpayment include:

  • A change to your start or end dates.
  • Your costs and/or resources change during the school year.
  • You drop from full-time to part-time studies.
  • You withdraw from school.

A grant overpayment will result in your grant being converted into a loan – and these loan dollars must be repaid.


Once your 6-month grace period ends, you must begin making payments.

Repayment assistance is also available to students who need help repaying their loans. Learn more about repayment of your Alberta student loans and Canada student loans.

Eligibility for Loans and Grants

You must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or have Protected Person status (including Convention Refugee).

  • Be a resident of Alberta.

  • Have a calculated need.

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student taking a minimum 60% of a full course load at an approved post-secondary institution or 40% of a full course load if you are a student with a documented disability.

Post-secondary institutions determine full-time and part-time course loads. Ask your school how many courses they consider to be a full-time course load.

Students with a study permit are not eligible for financial assistance from Alberta Student Aid.

Lifetime Loan Limits

The Lifetime Loan Limits shown in the chart refer to the amount of combined Alberta plus Canada student loans you can have outstanding at any time. This includes loans for your current program and any previous programs of study.

For example, if you enter a graduate program after completing an undergraduate degree, your maximum student Lifetime Loan Limit for both degrees is a total of $100,000.

Students may still receive Canada student loan funding of up to $210 per week for subsequent periods of study after the Lifetime Loan Limits shown in the chart have been reached.

Lifetime Loan Limits
Canadian Dollars CAD$
Open Studies, One Year Undergraduate Programs including Certificate, Diploma, and Apprenticeship Programs 51,000
Undergraduate Programs* of two years or more in length including Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor's Degree, and Journeyman Certificate* 85,000
Dental Hygiene 95,000
Pharmacy 125,000
Graduate Programs 125,000
MBA 150,000
Doctoral Programs 150,000
Law 150,000
Chiropractic Medicine 200,000
Dentistry 200,000
Medicine 200,000
Optometry 200,000
Veterinary Medicine 200,000

*Up to $68,000 for either Commercial Aviation Training (maximum of $17,000 for each of four approved fixed wing training components), or for Commercial Helicopter Training.

Students with a study permit are not eligible for financial assistance from Alberta Student Aid.

Lifetime Loan Limit = The total amount you can owe at one time

If you repay some or all of your loans, you may be eligible to receive additional loans up to the maximum for your specific credential or program of study.

In some cases, you may be eligible to receive additional funding beyond the standard Annual Loan Limits and Lifetime Loan Limits. Learn more about Loan Limits.