A Guide to Student Loans

The average cost of post-secondary education in Canada can top $80,000, making financing a reality for most students. If you're unsure of where to start, use this guide to student loans and learn how to apply for federal, provincial and private loans.

Government school loan programs

The federal government has two programs which can help you fund your education. You can apply for school loans from the Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP) or grants from the Canada Student Grants Program (CSGP). Visit www.canlearn.ca to learn more and see how you can apply.

  • Canada Student Loan Program: Whether you're a full- or part-time student, you can apply for a loan through this program. If your application meets the established requirements for financial need, you could be eligible to receive up to 60 percent of the cost of your tuition in federal loans. There is also a maximum amount you can receive, and that is subject to change, so consult the latest literature to review this cap. When you graduate, you will owe the loan amount plus interest back to the government.
  • Canada Student Grants Program: This program combines all of the previously available federal grants into one plan. Again, you have to apply for a grant and demonstrate financial need. If your application is accepted, you could be eligible for grant money, which you do not have to repay upon graduation. There are also grants for individuals who fall into certain categories, such as those who are disabled or are supporting children while attending school.


Provincial and territorial school loans

When you max out your federal benefits or if you are denied federal financial assistance, you may be able to find support from the province or territory that you reside.

  • Alberta: The Alberta Learning Information Service offers scholarships, bursaries and school loans plus financial planning resources.
  • British Columbia: StudentAidBC provides loans, scholarships, grants and more. They also have special information for applicants who have dependents, disabilities, use income assistance or have other unique situations.
  • Manitoba: You can apply for tuition loans and grants through Manitoba Student Aid. If you're a medical student, review the special section on medical grants.
  • New Brunswick: Apply for full-time or part-time student assistance through New Brunswick's Student Financial Services. You'll find all the information and forms you need for provincial aid.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Learn about your financial assistance options with Newfoundland and Labrador Student Aid. Start your full-time or part-time loan application, or read more about grants and other aid options.
  • Northwest Territories: Find student handbooks, policies, procedures and applications for aid from NWT Student Financial Assistance.
  • Nova Scotia: Visit the Nova Scotia Student Assistance department to view your student aid options. You can apply for student loans and find approved institutions.
  • Ontario: The Ontario Student Assistance Program seeks to provide financial support to its residents through student loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries. You may be eligible for aid whether you are a full-time or part-time student.
  • Prince Edward Island: Apply for provincial loans through PEI Student Financial Services. They offer both full- and part-time funding.
  • Quebec: Take advantage of loans and bursaries for both full- and part-time students from the Aide financiere aux etudes.
  • Saskatchewan: View your student loan options through the Saskatchewan Student Financial Assistance program. Learn more about student assistance with the Student Loan Handbook, and then apply for loans.
  • Yukon Territory: See if you're eligible for aid from Yukon Student Financial Assistance. Learn about grants, loans, scholarships, awards and other funds you can take advantage of to help pay for your education.


Private student loans

If you've maxed-out government aid options, look into school loans and lines of credit from CIBC. For example, with an Education Line of Credit, you can get the money you need to pay for books, housing, tuition, transportation and more.

If you're a student working toward a professional degree in medicine, accounting, dentistry, law, business, pharmacy or other programs, you can take out larger tuition loans and lines of credit to accommodate the increased costs of these schools. CIBC offers the Professional Edge Student Program, which is a line of credit that comes with repayment options to fit your budget.

You can also use the equity in your home or your parents' home to get a lower interest rate on a Home Power Plan® that can be used to fund your education.

You can apply online or get your questions answered by talking to a CIBC advisor at 1-866-525-8622.

Get started