High School Transition
Funding and Scholarship Programs
Canada Student Loans, Grants and the Education Tax Credit
The Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP) provides financial assistance to students to supplement their own and their family’s savings and earnings. Each year, the CSLP provides $1.2 billion in student assistance to about 325,000 students across Canada. CSLP loan funding is given out under both full-time and part-time student program banners. Full-time student CSLP loans currently cover 60% of a student’s assessed need, up to a weekly maximum of $165. The remaining 40% of the assessed need may be covered by provincial student loans programs or through other assistance.
In addition to the loan component, the program provides $146 million each year in non-repayable grants, such as the Canada Study Grant. An important feature of the CSLP is the in-school interest subsidy. This pays the interest on a Canada Student Loan while you are enrolled in full-time studies at a post-secondary institution. Full-time students begin paying interest on their loans six months after completing their program. The part-time study program provides up to $4,000 in assistance for each year of part-time program enrollment. These loans are given out with the assumption that many part-time students are employed and have most living expenses covered.
The CSLP recognizes that the challenges of a permanent disability may mean that it takes longer to complete a program of study. To compensate for this, the CSLP offers students with a disability relaxed eligibility criteria for full-time student status. Under the general conditions, when you apply for a Canada Student Loan you have to be enrolled in 60% of a full course load to qualify as a full-time student. However, a student with a permanent disability need only register for 40% of a full course load. Correspondingly, the part time requirements are also reduced. The program recognizes that a permanent disability may mean that a student can never repay a loan, because they are unable to seek, or obtain, a full time job that would enable repayment of the CSLP. In these cases the program offers a permanent disability benefit, which may allow application to have a loan forgiven.
Canada Study Grants for Persons with Disabilities are available to deal with extra costs students with disabilities may have while pursuing post-secondary education. In its 2001 budget, the federal government announced that the maximum funding available to students under this program had increased from $5,000 to $8,000, effective for the 2002 school year. In addition, with the same budget, the government announced a supplementary grant of up to $2,000 for students with disabilities “(who) may find the maximum student loans available are not sufficient to meet assessed needs” (The Budget Plan 2001, page 118). The Canada Student Grants are intended to offset exceptional disability related costs, such as note takers, tutors, readers, interpreters, attendant care during studies, as well as specialized transportation to and from an educational institution. The grant can also cover equipment costs like special computers, Braillers, and/or the production of materials in alternate formats.
The Education Tax Credit had not previously been available to people receiving post-secondary financial assistance under government training programs. However, in 2001 the government extended the credit to people in these situations. Accordingly, it is now available to people with disabilities who receive assistance for post-secondary education under Human Resources Development Canada’s training programs, including Employability Assistance for People With Disabilities and the Opportunities Fund.
Finally, it should be noted that NEADS sits as a member of the National Advisory Group on Student Financial Assistance. This group, which reports to the Minister of Human Resources Development, is one of the three groups that comprise the program’s efforts to consult with key stakeholders. Students who feel that their needs are not being addressed, or that their voices are not being heard, can contact the NEADS office with the specifics of any concern. In this way, the information can be passed to program administrators through the National Advisory Group. For more information on the Canada Student Loans Program, grants, or the Education Tax Credit, contact:
Human Resources Development Canada
Canada Student Loans Program
P.O. Box 2090, Station “D”
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6C6
Tel: (819) 994-1844
Toll Free: 1 (888) 432-7377 (English) / 1 (800) 733-3765 (French)
TTY: (819) 994-1218
Web site: www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/student_loans
How to get your Canada Student Loans Funds
Starting March 1, 2001, banks, credit unions and caisses populaires will no longer issue funds for the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP). Instead, any new Canada Student Loans will come directly from the Government of Canada through the National Student Loans Service Centre. To provide better service, one division of the National Student Loans Service Centre will be responsible for serving borrowers attending public institutions (universities or public colleges). The other division will be responsible for serving borrowers attending private vocational institutions (career colleges or trade schools). To help you determine which division will be responsible for your school, visit www.canlearn.ca/English/csl or call 1 (800) OCANADA, 1 (800) 622-6232.