Financial Aid in Canada
Generally, higher education in Canada tends to be less expensive than in the United States. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that earning a degree as an international student in Canada is easily affordable for all. In order to pay for tuition, fees and the cost of living, you will likely need to access various financial aid options. We’re going to take you through the options you have for financial aid in Canada. But first, let’s look at the minimum financial requirements for obtaining a Canada study permit.
Canada Study Permit Eligibility Requirement
Before you can obtain your Canada study permit, you must be able to show proof of finances. These are the minimum requirements in every province except for Quebec:
- Single student: Tuition plus $10,000 for a 12-month period (or $833/month)
- For one accompanying family member add: $4,000 for a 12-month period (or $333/month)
- For each additional family member: $3,000 for a 12-month period per dependent child of any age (or $255/month)
In Quebec, you must show that you have the following funds in addition to tuition fees:
- One person under age 18: $6,171
- One person age 18 or older: $12,341
- Two persons age 18 or older: $18,098
- One person over age 18 and one under age 18: $16,584
- Two persons over age 18 and one under age 18: $20,274
- Two persons over age 18 and two under age 18: $21,881
Along with having to show proof of finances, we also recommend ensuring you’re familiar with how much your education in Canada will cost, and plan accordingly through a budget. How do students afford to study in Canada? Having a budget is a great place to start!
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Scholarships and Bursaries in Canada
Before exploring options in Canada, we strongly recommend looking for scholarships and bursaries in your home country. Whereas scholarships are typically awarded based on academic merit or a specific ability, bursaries are available for students who meet specific financial criteria.
Chances are you’ll be able to find organizations and companies that are offering awards for students, especially those who will be international students. There’s no need to wait for an acceptance letter to start looking for scholarships or bursaries in your home country. Although some may require you to report that you’ve been accepted into a higher education institution, many don’t have this requirement.
If you have been admitted to a higher education institution, then you’ll also want to visit your school’s website to see what kind of entrance scholarships are offered. Many schools offer scholarships for outstanding academic achievement and many offer aid purely for being an international student. You may also want to consider exploring scholarship and bursary options though Canadian organizations such as the International Council for Canadian Studies.
Another excellent option for finding scholarships is our free College Scholarship Search tool. With this tool, you’ll be able to find contact information for more than 1,600 awards and then easily apply through the scholarship sponsor’s website. To gain access to scholarship contact information, simply register for a free InternationalStudent.com account, or get started in our scholarship search tool.Free College Scholarship Search
Canadian Government Aid
Many students ask “can I get financial aid to study in Canada?” and the answer is yes in many cases. The Canadian government offers a few financial aid options for international students including Government of Canada International Scholarships and the Canada Student Loan program. Through the Government of Canada International Scholarships website, you’ll be able to explore awards that are currently being offered for study abroad programs and individual students.
The Canada Student Loan program offers loans with the same terms (including interest rate) as permanent Canadian residents. However, there is a chance that international students may not be eligible for these loans depending on provincial law.
Student Loans for Studying in Canada
A lender is an organization or individual that allows you to borrow money with the expectation of eventual repayment of the amount borrowed plus interest. In terms of student loans, there are two main types of lenders and loans: federal and private. A federal student loan is one provided by the government such as through the Canada Student Loan program. A private student loan is one provided by a privately funded organization. If you are unable to obtain enough funding to pay for your education, student loans can be a primary or supplementary option. However, we advise you to only borrow what you absolutely need as you don’t want to end up owing more than you can repay. You should only take out the amount in loans needed to pay for tuition, fees and cost of living. Student loans are not meant to be spent on luxury items.
If you’re curious whether you can get a loan to study in Canada, start with our unique loan comparison tool. With this tool, you can see which loans you may be eligible to apply for, and compare lenders in one place. Not all lenders are able to provide student loans for international students in Canada, through our tool it’s easy to see which ones are available to you. Once you’re provided with your lender options you can apply through the lender directly.
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International Student Loans in USA
You should always carefully evaluate how much money you will need to study in the USA. Then you will need to research and apply for scholarships, financial aid from your school, and find money from any other source, including family funds. After exhausting these avenues, most international students still have a funding gap, and that’s where international student loans come in.
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What is an International Student Loan
Federal student loans are popular with US students studying in the US, but they are not available to international students. Instead, international students are eligible for international student loans, specialized private education loans available to international students studying in the US.
International Student Loans are now a very realistic way to finance your education in the US. Loans are very flexible, and can offer loan amounts high enough to pay for your entire education, but with extended repayment terms and reasonable interest rates, so you can afford the repayment after you graduate.
Most international students applying for loans must have a US cosigner in order to apply. A cosigner is legally obligated to repay the loan if the borrower fails to pay. The cosigner must be a permanent US resident with good credit who has lived in the US for the past two years. The cosigner is often a close friend or relative who can assist in getting credit, since most international students cannot receive credit on their own. If you’re not able to find a cosigner see if there are no cosigner loans available to you.
Interest is the amount charged by the lender in addition to the amount of money that you borrowed. The interest rate is calculated based on an index plus a margin that will add an additional percentage interest rate depending on your co-signer’s creditworthiness. The two most common indexes used for international students are the Prime Rate and LIBOR Rate.
- Prime Interest Rate – This index is determined by the federal funds rate which is set by the US Federal Reserve.
- LIBOR – The LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) is based on the British Bankers’ Association and is used on the London interbank market. The rate is an average of the world’s most creditworthy bank’s interbank deposit rates for overnight and one year terms.
When evaluating the loan, the lender will clarify which index the plan uses. Then, there will be an additional margin that will be added based on the borrower’s individual criteria, including the co-signer’s credit history. Based on their creditworthiness, an additional interest rate will be added to the index. This will be the total interest you owe. When your application is approved, your specific margin will be disclosed to you, at which point you can accept or refuse the loan.
Repayment will vary depending on the loan option you choose. Since most international students are not able to work while they study in the US, repayment must be considered as an extremely important feature in your loan. You will need to consider how much the monthly payments will be, when payments will begin, and how long you will be able to defer paying back the loan. The repayment period generally ranges from 10-25 years, but the larger the loan, the longer the repayment period. The standard repayment plan options are:
- Full Deferral – Students are able to defer payment until 6 months after graduation as long as full-time status is maintained. Students can defer payments for a maximum of four years, which is the typical length of a degree.
- Interest Only – International students only pay the interest while in school, up to four consecutive years, and can defer the principal until 45 days after graduation, or when the student drops their course load to part-time.
- Immediate Repayment – Payments on both interest and principal are due immediately once the loan has been dispersed.
Frequently Asking Questions
Who is eligible to apply for international student loans?
Students who are not US citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending an eligible US college or university may apply for international student loans.
What can international student loans be used for?
International student loans can be used for education-related expenses such as tuition, books, fees, insurance, and room and board.
What is the maximum loan amount I can apply for?
You can apply for up to the total cost of education, minus other aid, as determined by your school. In order to determine your maximum loan amount, you will need to contact your school’s financial aid office. After you apply and receive credit approval for you and your co-signer, your school must certify the amount of the loan.
When used responsibly as part of an overall education funding plan, international student loans can help to put a US education within reach, regardless of your financial circumstances. We offer two main loan resources dedicated to providing funding for international students: International Student Loan and Study Abroad Loans – please visit them for more information.
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