Loan repayments & interest-free status

When you graduate, leave school, or cease to be a full-time student, you must begin to repay your student loan(s).

Make sure you set up an online account with the NSLSC if you have not done so already—important information related to your government loans occurs through this portal. You must also update all changes in your status, banking or personal information.

Repayment process

Payment-free period

You are allowed a six month "grace period" before you have to start repaying your loan. However, interest does accumulate during this period.

Contact your Provincial or Territorial Financial Aid Office to determine how your specific loan process works.

Paying this interest

You can choose to:

  • pay the interest accumulating on your loan during the non-repayment period
  • ask your loan provider to add the interest to your student loan balance

If you do not notify your loan provider how you intend to pay this accrued interest, it will automatically be added to your loan balance.

Loan repayment estimator

You can use the Federal Government's Loan Repayment Estimator to help you estimate the monthly payments you will need to make.

Repayment schedule (consolidation)

When you arrange to repay your student loan(s), this is called consolidation. You will do this by setting up a loan repayment schedule.

During the six-month non-repayment period after you leave school, your loan provider(s) mail you a Consolidated Student Loan Agreement for your Canada Student Loan(s), Provincial Student Loan or Integrated Student Loan.

This agreement is a legal document between you and your loan holder(s).

It has information about your:

  • loan amount
  • interest rate
  • amortization period or repayment term (how long it will take to repay your loan)
  • repayment amounts
  • first payment date
  • banking details

The Government of Canada website has more information about paying back your Canada Student Loan.

Who to repay - loan providers

Part-time loans: You will make repayments through the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC)

Full-time loans: You will make repayments through the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC). Plus, in some provinces and territories, repayments will also need to be made to your designated provincial or territorial loan provider. Check the following table to find out who you need to repay.

Province or Territory Federal loan repayment Provincial loan repayment
Alberta NSLSC Student Aid Alberta Service Centre
British Columbia NSLSC NSLSC
Manitoba NSLSC Manitoba Student Aid
New Brunswick NSLSC NSLSC
Newfoundland and Labrador NSLSC NSLSC
Nova Scotia NSLSC Resolve
Prince Edward Island NSLSC EDULINX PEI
Saskatchewan NSLSC NSLSC

Loans received before 2000: you may have received your loan through a financial institution and you must contact them directly to arrange the repayment of your loan.

How to repay

The acceptable payment methods are:

  • Pre-Authorized Payment Plan
  • Telephone Banking
  • Internet Banking
  • Cheques – Monthly and Post-dated
  • Money Orders
  • Bank Drafts

You must ensure that your payments are received by your loan provider(s) before the scheduled payment date. Payments after the due date will incite action from a collection agency.

The Government of Canada website has more information about paying back your Canada Student Loan.

Student responsibilities

You are responsible for:

  • potentially signing an agreement on the repayment terms of your student loan or calling the number at the bottom of the form if you would like to make any changes (instructions vary depending upon the consolidation agreement)
  • repaying your loan and interest according to the terms of your Consolidated Student Loan Agreement
  • notifying the loan provider if you:
    • change your contact information (name, phone number, street address, or email)
    • leave or transfer to another school
    • change your graduation date

Repayment assistance

If you have difficulty repaying your student loan due to financial hardship, there is help. Programs such as the Repayment Assistance Plan and Revision of Terms are available to either defer or reduce your required monthly payment. You may have to apply and qualify for these options.

Contact your loan provider for more information.

Interest and your loan

Interest rates

When you enter into repayment you can choose between a:

  • fixed interest rate (does not change for the duration of your loan)
  • variable/floating interest rate (fluctuates for the duration of your loan)

Find out the current interest rates for Canada Student Loans.

The rate on the provincial portion of your loan may vary. Refer to your Provincial or Territorial Financial Aid Office for more information.

Interest-free status

If you return to full-time study your loan can go back into interest-free status.

How to maintain interest-free status

There are two options:

  1. If you return to full-time studies during the 6 month non-repayment period and you applied for and receive government aid before your repayment date, the accumulated interest will be discarded and the government loan will be placed in an interest-free status for the new study term.
  2. If you miss this deadline, you can submit a Schedule 2 request for Confirmation of Enrolment or Confirmation of Interest-Free Status for both full and part-time studies. See the table provided below to find out how to submit a Schedule 2 request for your province or territory.

To use the NSLSC’s On-Line Services, you must set up an account with the NSLSC On-Line Services. (It’s easy to do!)

Schedule 2 request table

Province or territory Schedule 2 – Federal Schedule 2 – Provincial
Alberta NSLSC Paper – Form B
British Columbia NSLSC NSLSC
New Brunswick NSLSC NSLSC
Newfoundland NSLSC NSLSC
Northwest Territories N/A Paper – Form
Nova Scotia NSLSC Nova Scotia Portal
Ontario Continuation of Interest-Free Status form (on the OSAP portal) Continuation of Interest-Free Status form (on the OSAP portal)
Prince Edward Island NSLSC Paper – Confirmation of Enrolment form
Saskatchewan NSLSC NSLSC

Loan limits

Student loans have lifetime limits as follows:

Federal and provincial lifetime limits (for funding and interest-free status)
Type of Student Lifetime limit
Non-doctoral students 340 weeks (80 months)
Doctoral students 400 weeks (94 months)
Student with a permanent disability 520 weeks (120 months)

Lifetime limits include the number of funding weeks plus the period of time your file is in an interest-free status.

Learn more about lifetime limits on the Government of Canada's website.

More information

Government websites

The federal government’s student loans website and the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) (the service through which you create your online account) are your best information resources for your student loan.

They provide information on:

  • status
  • balance & transaction history
  • funding updates
  • monthly payment amounts (customizing/changing)
  • repayment assistance application
  • tax slips (T4A)

The website of your provincial or territorial financial aid office is also a valuable source of information.

NSLSC repayment webinars

View a recording of an NSLSC repayment webinar to get great tips on:

  • the repayment process
  • saving on interest
  • help with payment difficulties

You can watch the recorded webinar at any time.

Live webinars are no longer available.