How to Prepare for a Loan

If you're like most students, your savings probably won't cover all of your education costs. To determine your loan needs and get tips on applying for a student line of credit and government student loan, read on!

The basics

To calculate your financial needs, start by compiling your estimated savings and anticipated expenses. Below is an example of what your spreadsheet might look like:

Savings Amount Spending Amount

Anticipated job savings










Food (meal plan)/yr









Personal necessities




Total Savings


Total Expenses


Subtract Total Expenses from Total Savings.

$ 8,600


-$ 12,000


= -$ 3,400

If you break even or come out on the plus side, know that you are lucky and can cover your expenses.

If you get a negative number, that's the amount of money you'll need to borrow.

What is the difference between a government student loan and a student line of credit?

With a government student loan, your interest payments are deferred until some time after you graduate (so long as you remain a qualifying student.) Eligibility requirements and more information on government student loans can be found online at About the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program Opens in a new window..

Unlike a government student loan, which you can get from the federal or provincial government, a student line of credit is available from financial institutions. With a student line of credit, you are required to pay interest on the amount you borrow while in school.

If approved for a student line of credit, undergraduate students can receive from around $5,000 to $15,000 a year (depending on the field of study).

Most banks will ask you for the following:

  • Proof of Canadian residency (such as Social Insurance Number, birth certificate, passport or landed immigrant certificate)
  • Proof of student status (such as university/college acceptance letter, tuition receipt, or proof of enrolment)
  • Proof of ability to make monthly interest payments on the amount you spend throughout the year (part-time job pay stub showing earnings to date, letter of employment)

Depending on your financial circumstances, you might need a guarantor, usually a parent or guardian, who is legally responsible for paying your loan if you do not make your payments.

For details about how to secure a student line of credit, check out the CIBC Products for Students section below or set up an appointment at your branch.

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