The Basics of Student Loans

For financial help with post-secondary education expenses, there are a number of options available, including student loans, lines of credit and personal loans.

Where to get a student loan

You have three options when it comes to getting financing for post-secondary education:

Federal government
The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) can fulfill a significant portion of your financial needs. So long as you meet their eligibility requirements, you could receive up to 60% of the cost of tuition. It's important to note there are lifetime limits on government borrowing. You can only receive assistance for a certain number of weeks, which may total five or six years. This is subject to change, so check with the CSLP when applying.

Provincial or territorial government
Next, look for student loans and grants from your province or territory. You may also be able to apply for scholarships. In order to apply for both federal and provincial loans, you only need to apply through your provincial or territorial government.

Private institutions
Finally, if you need more assistance, you can apply for a student line of credit from your bank. This reusable form of credit can help you pay for things like textbooks, housing and transportation as costs arise.

The difference between a student loan, personal loan and a student line of credit

A student loan can be used towards larger expenses, such as your tuition, residency and textbooks. Student loans are issued only by government agencies. Learn more at

A student line of credit, available from the bank, provides a pool of funds that can be accessed whenever needed. Once a portion of the funds are paid off, the line of credit can be used again when needed. There are also a number of options in terms of paying off a line of credit, such as making interest only payments each month.

Personal loans are another good option for funding your education. You can get a personal loan from a financial institution and they can be secured against your assets or those of your parents to give you lower rate than an unsecured loan would. You can also pay back the loan at any time without any penalties.

Student loan repayment

Upon graduation, students are given a six-month grace period during which interest is accruing but no payments have to be made. At the end of that grace period, students receive documentation from the government detailing the interest rate and repayment amounts owed.

In the case of a student line of credit from CIBC, the line of credit is converted into a personal loan one year after graduation. Students also have the option of stretching their repayment period out to a maximum of 20 years.

Get financial assistance from CIBC

Apply for a student line of credit from CIBC to help make up the gap between your student loans and the remaining expenses of higher education. Our Education Line of Credit features competitive rates and borrowing limits that can help you manage your college or university expenses. Apply online or call a CIBC advisor at 1-866-525-8622 with questions.

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