An overview of the student loan process for parents

Preparing to send your child to college or university is a big step in both your lives, especially if this is your first foray. While your child is eligible to apply for student loans, grants, scholarships and more, he or she may still need your help with rising tuition costs.

Saving for your child's education now

A good first step to prepare for the cost of post-secondary education is to open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your child when he or she is young. You can contribute up to $50,000 maximum; this number is subject to change, so check with your bank. Also, some accounts have minimum deposit requirements while others do not. In addition to helping you save for tuition, having an RESP makes you eligible to receive money from the Government of Canada in the form of grants and bonds, which do not have to be repaid. So, this is a great way to boost your savings. You can open an RESP at any time; of course, the earlier the better. But, it's never too late to start building savings for this significant but worthwhile expense. Find out about the benefits of government grants and how to grow an RESP with our RESP calculator.

Applying for money that doesn't have to be repaid

Even with a savings plan in place, you may still need to look for additional ways to pay for post-secondary education. In addition to student loans, funding can be found in the form of scholarships, grants and bursaries. These resources provide tuition assistance that does not have to be repaid like a student loan does. Your child can apply for them through the federal government, your provincial or territorial government, and private groups.


Available from both the government and the schools your child is considering, scholarships reward academic achievement. You may also find scholarship opportunities from local nonprofit or service organizations.


When you apply for a loan through the Canada Student Loans Program, your application is automatically considered for the Canada Student Grants Program, which may award students grant money based on factors such as financial need, achievement or athletic performance.


This type of financial assistance takes both a student's academic merit and financial need into account when deciding how to award money to cover the cost of tuition.


Exploring student loan options

While you may find some assistance from the aforementioned options, the bulk of financial assistance is provided through student loans. In fact, if an application for student loans is approved through the federal Canada Student Loans Program, he or she could receive a loan for up to 60% of the cost of tuition.

After looking into this federal program, you should also explore student loans from your province or territory.

If you're a resident of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario or Saskatchewan, your child only has to file one application for both federal and provincial student loans as these are administered through Integrated Student Loans. After graduation, he or she will repay this one integrated student loan.

If you live in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories or Quebec, federal Canada Student Loans are not available, so your child will just be applying for provincial or territorial loans.

In the Yukon, there are no territorial loans, so your child will just apply for Canada Student Loans.

For residents of all other provinces, students can file one application for both federal and provincial student loans. However, upon graduation, the student will have to repay each loan separately; they will not be integrated.

Taking out loans yourself to help pay for tuition

If you would like to pay for your child's education rather than rely on tuition loans, you can also do that by taking out a loan or line of credit yourself. Consider applying for a secured or unsecured personal loan, personal line of credit or CIBC Home Power Plan® from CIBC.

Depending on your credit score and financial situation, this may be a viable option for your family. To learn more about this option,  speak to a CIBC advisor at 1-866-525-8622Opens your phone app..

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