How to Get a Student Loan in Canada

Canada is now home to 100s of thousands of international students yearly, and they are currently the third Country with the largest number of international students behind the United States and Australia.

But why have students taken note of this country all of the sudden? First, to start with, it’s a country that has lots of quality colleges, with 6 of their universities ranked among the top 100 in the world. To add to their quality education, they have a low employment rate, at a 4.9% rate in July 2022, and have a high minimum wage of $15.55 per hour, which will still increase. Even the United States has a lower minimum wage of $7.25. 

U.S News and World Report said that they are the best country for quality of lifestyle in 2021, so you won’t just enjoy good academics, you’ll also live a lovely life with your neighbors. Needless to say, out of 5 people in Canada, 2 are international citizens, so you have a very high chance of meeting your fellow country people.

However, whatever is great doesn’t come cheap, so it is in Canada, the tuition fee in the country is really not that cheap, but they have the best low-tuition fee colleges among English-speaking countries. 

Taking a loan is not really the sweetest choice in life, I believe if you had a better option like getting a fully funded scholarship in Canada you would have gone quickly for it. If you have not yet attempted, easy scholarships might also serve as a better alternative to a loan.

 However, most of these scholarships are preserved for their citizens, and probably the finance you have gotten from family and partial scholarships are still not enough to cover tuition and other expenses. So you’re now left with the option to try to get a student loan in Canada.

I know one part of you is biting you and asking how you will pay off this loan if you get it, believe me, there are ways you can pay off your loan and enjoy your life after graduation.

With the help of enough research getting full details on how to get a student loan in Canada has become so easy, but first, let’s explain what a student loan is 

What is a student loan?

A student loan is a type of loan that a student can take to pay part or all of their tuition fee, accommodation fee, and even their living expenses. There are two types of student loans: government loan programs and private student loans.

However, in Canada, federal government loan programs are not fully available for international students, so foreign students are just left with private lenders. And the good thing is that you won’t be needing a co-signer (a co-signer is the person that has to pay for the loan if you failed to pay).

And not just that, your credit score might not necessarily be needed too, but if you have a good credit score it will increase your chances of getting a higher student loan in Canada and reduce the interest rate. And speaking of interest rate, student loan interest rate is quite lower when compared to other means of borrowing money.

Who can obtain a student loan in Canada?

Any student admitted to a college in Canada can apply for a student loan, whether you’re a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, or an international student. A citizen and permanent resident can apply for a federal loan or even a provincial loan and will get it.

However, only private loans could be available for international students. And before an international student will be allowed to come and study in Canada, they have to show proof that they have the financial capacity of studying in the country.

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) will be the one to make sure you have what it takes to study in the country, whether you’re coming alone or with your family. This proof could be a bank statement, a scholarship awarded, or a loan from any organization.

Now let’s get down to the real deal on how to get a student loan in Canada.

How to Get a Student Loan in Canada

How to Get a Student Loan in Canada

Like I said earlier, if you’re planning to apply for a student loan, make sure you’ve exhausted every other option, and you came to it as a last resort. Because taking a student loan can be burdensome on its own.

Anyway, if not taking a loan is the only option standing between you and going to your dream college, then here it is.

1. Have a Good Credit Score

I know I said a credit score is not necessarily needed in getting a student loan in Canada, but it helps to improve your chances of getting it, of getting a higher loan, and of getting a lower interest. Canadian citizens and permanent residents don’t need a credit score to get their federal loan.

As an international student, since you’re borrowing money from a private lender, then they are the ones to decide if it’s important or not. But imagine if you’re the one lending the money, wouldn’t you want to see if the student you’re lending the money has what it takes to pay back?

Credit score starts from 300 as the worst credit score and goes all the way to 900 as the best. As someone that wants to get a student loan in Canada, but has a bad history of paying debt, or you don’t have a credit score at all, your score will be below 650.

2. Get a Co-signer (Optional)

I know this could be contradictory again, but you’re an international student and you’re meeting an organization or private lender who is probably not from your country. So this lender would want to make sure he has a safety net to fall back on when the borrower fails.

Even though most lenders might not demand your co-signer, getting one ready will be better.

3. Apply for a Federal or Provincial Loan

This is mostly for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, they are the major ones eligible to apply for these kinds of loans. You are to pay back the loan only after you’ve graduated, and you have to apply through your province.

Some factors can determine the amount a citizen or resident can get, which includes the province they reside in, their family income, how much their tuition cost, also their living expenses.

4. Get a Study Permit (International Students)

Canada has to issue you a study permit before you can study in your admitted college in the country. And before you travel to Canada, it’s necessary to apply for your study permit.

Also while processing your study permit, one of the necessary documents they will request is your proof of financial support, where you have to let them know you can financially support your studies.

5. Apply for a Private Loan 

This is the best option or probably the only option to get a student loan in Canada for international students. Also, the lender will be the one to decide if the school you were admitted to is eligible for a loan.


As you have seen it’s not really so easy to get a student loan in Canada, especially if you’re an international student. But do the best you can if it’s the only option you have left, and I wish you all the best.

How to Get a Student Loan in Canada – FAQs

How do I repay a student loan in Canada?

In most cases, your repayment starts 6 months after you’ve left school, they want to give you time to settle and start working. But it’s best to start making your payment while in school because the payment you make as a student helps to reduce the principal, which also reduces the interest you will pay when you have left school.

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