University education opens many doors and improves your chances for well-paid employment but can be very expensive and with a host of student-related costs to cover – room and board, tuition, school supplies, books and textbooks, occasional daily expenses, and what not. The cost of college education is also rising which makes repayment a costly endeavor.
Sources of Financing
The two main sources are student loans from credit unions, banks, and other private issuers and government funding. Government student loans offer many benefits, the main one being affordable rates. Financing under the Canada Student Loans program (http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/student_loans/government.page) is available in addition to grants and scholarships. They are offered to Canadians who are enrolled part-time and full-time at a recognized university. Proof of enrollment is required to apply. The good news is that repayment begins 6 months after you graduate. The interest rate is fixed and lower than the rate offered by private issuers. In comparison, loans by private issuers (see list here)usually come with a variable rate, and students are required to make regular monthly payments. Students make interest only payments until they graduate and then start making regular payments. Whether repayment assistance is available depends on your provider and financial situation. One downside is that many financial institutions require a supporting borrower or co-signer because students are new to credit and perceived as high-risk. This can be your parents, a close relative, or anyone else who is willing to act as a co-signer.
Paying Off Student Debt
If you just graduated and are looking for a job, you are probably short of cash and need repayment assistance. With government-sponsored loans, there are several options to look into if you have left school, transferred from full-time to part-time studies, or graduated. The form of financial assistance depends on your program. Loan forgiveness is one option to look into if you are a nurse practitioner, nurse, resident in family medicine, or family doctor working in a designated remote or rural area or community. Repayment assistance is also available to students with permanent disability. They are offered assistance in the form of severe permanent disability benefit. Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for no or reduced monthly payment under a repayment assistance plan. Only Canadian residents qualify. This also applies to reservists who are currently deployed abroad and students on international internships. To apply, you will need certain documents and financial information. The forms to fill depends on your status, situation, and program and include pre-authorized payment form, power of attorney forms, confirmation of posting assignment if you are full-time, and account change request form, among others. In your application for financial assistance, you have to provide information such as family size, marital status (common law, married, or single), and how you cover your living expenses, i.e. personal savings, supported by a friend, family member, or parent, etc. You also need to provide information about your loan, including regular monthly payment, current balance, whether the loan is provincial or federal, and name of financial institution. If you have a private loan, one way to go about it is to cut your monthly expenses, i.e. dining out, spending less on groceries, finding a second job, and so on.