We’ve done some research for you comparing  government grant and loan programs

Government of Canada Student Financial Assistance Estimator

  • http://certification.esdc.gc.ca/lea-mcl/eafe-sfae/eafe-sfae-h.4m.2@-eng.jsp

 how much  WILL YOU get?

The size of your government loan / grant depends on many things:

  • How much you pay in tuition.
  • Whether you are a full / part-time student.
  • Which province your school is in.
  • Your / your family income / financial assets.
  • Whether you live at home or pay rent.
  • Whether you're married  or have children.
  • What other financial aid you may have access too (scholarships, bursaries, grants - not student loans).

Government student assistance is available from both the federal and provincial governments - they can be added together. 

  • Sometimes, when you apply for assistance, you''ll automatically be considered for both a grant and loan. You can accept / reject any offers you receive. 
  • Federal grants are not offered in Quebec, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. 

Aid estimators can help you determine how much assistance you'll receive (check every year - student loans are renewed on a yearly basis):

  •  The federal and certain provincial governments provide estimators on their official websites - found below. 
  • Add your province's estimate to the federal one to get an accurate figure.

​Here are some examples:

How long will your student  loans take to repay?

Before you take on student debt,  you must have a plan to repay it. The longer you take to pay a loan back, the more expensive it becomes. Use the estimator below - notice how changes to the term and the rate affect the total interest you pay.

  • http://tools.canlearn.ca/cslgs-scpse/cln-cln/crp-lrc/af.nlindex-eng.do

Six months after you graduate / stop studying full-time / leave school, you'll start paying interest on your student loans. You'll get a payment package from the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) or your provincial government. It will show how much you'll have to pay each month and how many payments you'll need to make until you pay back the principal. The NSLSC can be set up as a payee from your chequing account's online banking.

  • NSLSC is currently used by Ontario, BC, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador


  • Other provinces have their own repayment systems - you can find links to their websites on the NSLSC website above.

You can start making principal payments on government loans as soon as you get the money. It's possible to pay off the loan's principal before interest payments kick in, avoiding them entirely.

OSAP (Ontario) Aid Estimator

  • ​https://osap.gov.on.ca/AidEstimator1920Web/enterapp/enter.xhtml?lang=en

Updated October 27, 2018

 Here's a link provided by Canada Student Grants and Loans that can direct you to your provincial provider.  

You apply for both federal and provincial assistance through your provincial provider's website (your province / territory of residence).


Government assistance can be in the form or a grant or a loan.  Grants are non-repayable but loans have to be paid back. 

government loans / grants

other than financial need, what do you need to qualify?

  • Enrollment in a full-time post-secondary program at an approved institution (check if your program is approved).
  • Canadian citizenship, permanent residentcy, or designated protected person status / registration under the Indian Act.
  • You may need to maintain satisfactory grades after your first year of education.
  • If you're 22 or older, you may have to pass a credit check.

You may be disqualified from government assistance if you:

  • Missed payments on previous student assistance.
  • Have outstanding warrants for your arrest.

New assistance programs are announced by provinces / schools all the time.

 It's important to research your options thoroughly.

  • For example, in addition to OSAP grants, Laurentian University waives tuition for students who have been in the child welfare system, regardless of age.  The program covers the full cost of tuition for low-income students who have spent at least one year in the care of a children’s aid society. 
  • Vancouver Island University introduced the first such program seven years ago - a version was adopted across BC in 2017 for anyone under 26 who has spent two years in care. A similar program was recently implemented at McGill University.  Schools in Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are also considering doing the same.

  • In February 2019, British Columbia eliminated interest on provincial government student loans. Interest continues to be charged on federal Canada Student Loans.

Quebec Assessment Simulator

  • ​http://www.afe.gouv.qc.ca/en/loans-and-bursariesfull-time-studies/assessment/assessment-simulator/​​​