One of the most important factors to remember about repaying your student loan is to check into your account with the lender. By managing your loan repayment actively, you’ll be better equipped to handle your debt and pay your loan off faster.
We recommend that you listen to this (late 2019) webinar on how to manage your repayment to maximize your own return on your investment!
- Alberta borrowers can manage their loans at Student Aid Alberta.
- Canada student loan borrowers (and most other provinces) can use canlearn.ca.
You also need to ensure that all of your contact information (and bank account information) is current with your lender(s). If you are funded by an integrated province (like Saskatchewan), you will only need to update your information once. If you have received separate funding from your province and the federal government, you will need to ensure that both lenders have up-to-date contact information.
After you graduate, your student loan enters a six-month grace period. During this time, you do not need to make any payments. However, your loan will be accruing interest (with the exception of the Alberta portion, if you are an Alberta borrower).
It is in your best interest to make payments as soon as you can. Paying the grace period interest on your Canada student loan before you enter repayment keeps it from being rolled up into the principal – and that’s a good thing.
The interest rate in Alberta is the current prime rate. Alternatively, you can lock in at the current prime rate plus two per cent. This option, however, is less popular.
The floating interest rate for Canada student loans is prime plus two and a half per cent. You can also lock in at prime plus five per cent, though we rarely recommend this option.
If you have questions about interest rates, contact us at 403-320-3323 ext. 3334.
Following the six-month grace period, your loan enters repayment and you are required to make monthly payments. The longer your repayment period, the more your loan costs you over time. So anything you can do to speed things up is to your benefit. Consider these options:
- Make payments before your grace period ends.
- Increase your monthly payments by just $10 or $20.
- Change your payments from monthly to biweekly.
- Make lump sum or one-time extra payments at any time.
Even a small increase in your monthly payments can make a significant difference over time and save you a lot of money.
Keep in mind that if you have both provincial and Canada student loans, you may be required to make two payments. Your provincial payment is always a lesser amount and will be paid off before your Canada student loan. When you receive your notice that your Alberta (or Manitoba, P.E.I or Nova Scotia) loan has been repaid, remember that you may still owe money on your Canada student loan.
Renegotiating your payments
If you have any trouble with payments, contact your lenders immediately. Never miss a payment. Doing so seriously affects your credit rating and will make future loans of any kind very problematic. There are programs that can help with almost any circumstance.
You can renegotiate your repayment terms anytime. Use your online account or contact Student Aid Alberta at 1-855-606-2096 and select option 3. For Canada student loans, contact the National Student Loans Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514.