Overview

Student Aid puts a limit on how much money you can get. There are two kinds of loan limits:

  • your annual loan limit is the maximum amount of loan money you can get per year
  • your lifetime loan limit is the maximum amount of student debt you can have, including all the loans you receive over your whole life

There are limits on both Alberta and Canada loans.

Loan limits are especially important to students with high expenses or those who depend on student loans for many years.


Annual loan limits

Your annual loan limit is the maximum amount of Alberta and Canada student loans you can get for one year of study.

Your annual loan limit depends on your program of study.

Program

Annual loan limit for students studying

1 Semester

(1-4 months)

2 Semesters

(5-9 months)

3 Semesters

(10-12 months)

Bachelor’s Degree

Certificate

Diploma

Journeyman Certificate

$7,500

$15,000

$22,500

Dental Hygiene

Pharmacy

Master of Business Administration

Law

Other Graduate and Doctoral Programs

$11,250

$22,500

$30,000

Chiropractic Medicine

Dentistry

Medicine

Optometry

Veterinary Medicine

$11,250

$22,500

$37,500

Requesting more than your annual loan limit

There are circumstances where you can request up to $7,500 more than your annual loan limit:

  • if you run into costs outside of your control, such as a natural disaster
  • if you are in your final year of a degree program and need more loans to finish
  • if you are in any of the programs listed in the last box and haven’t exceeded your lifetime loan limit
  • If you reach your annual loan limit but need more money, you can request a review of your account.

Lifetime loan limits

Your lifetime loan limit is the maximum amount of student debt you can have at one time. This includes all Alberta and Canada loans you received for your current program and any past programs.

Your lifetime loan limit depends on your current program of study.

Program

Lifetime loan limit

Bachelor’s Degree

Certificate

Diploma

Journeyman Certificate

$75,000

Dental Hygiene

$85,000

Pharmacy

Graduate Studies

$100,000

Law

Masters of Business Administration

Doctoral Studies

$125,000

Chiropractic Medicine

Dentistry

Medicine

Optometry

Veterinary Medicine

$175,000

Your limit changes when your program does. For example, if you have debt from a bachelor’s degree and then enroll in a graduate program your lifetime loan limit goes from $75,000 to $100,000.

Requesting more than your lifetime loan limit

There are circumstances where you can request more than your lifetime loan limit:

  • if you are in the final year of a degree program and need more loans to finish
  • if you didn’t cash all the loans you were approved for in the past
  • if you reached your lifetime loan limit but already paid back some of your loans

If you need more money for any of these reasons, you can request a review of your account.


Part-time loan limits

Part-time students can have an outstanding loan balance of up to $10,000. This amount is your loan limit.

If you pay back part of your loan, you can take out that amount again, but you can’t exceed your loan limit.

Grants are free money, so they don’t contribute to your loan limit.


Time limit for Canada loans

The Canadian government has different rules about loan limits than Alberta.

Canada loan limits are based on number of weeks rather than dollar amount. Most students can receive Canada student loans for up to 340 weeks, including interest-free periods while you’re in school, except:

  • students in doctoral studies have 400 weeks
  • students with permanent disabilities have 520 weeks

This means:

  • if you reach your lifetime loan limit (see chart above) but not your Canada time limit, you can still receive up to $210 per week of study from Canada
  • if you reach your time limit, you can still receive loans from Alberta if you haven’t reached your lifetime loan limit