Canadian Student Loans

The Federal and Provincial Governments of Canada work together to provide student financial assistance.  Loans, grants and bursaries are available to help students access and pay for post secondary education.

The National Student Loan Service Centre has provided an on demand webinar which will introduce you to the world of government student loans.  It goes through the process and explains what is expected of you at each stage of the loan life cycle.  Please check out this link for the National Student Loan Servce Center Introduction On Demand Webinar.

How To Apply

Applications are available through the Provincial Student Loan Office which you are considered a resident of for both full-time and part-time loans.  Please note the loan application you complete is different if you are a part-time student.  Your Provincial Student Loan Office will assess you for both Federal and provincial Loans and Grants.

If you have been assessed by your Provincial Student Loan Office as having a permanent disability, you may be able to also apply for the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities for Services and Equipment.  The application is also found on your Provincial Student Loan Office web site.

Full-time or Part-time Student Loan Registration Requirements

Full-time Loans:  Depending on the province in which you are considered a resident,you will need to be registered in 60% (normally 9 credit hours per term) of a full course load.  For students from Newfoundland and Labrador, you will need to be registered in 80% for the provincial portion of the loan and 60% for the federal portion.  Students who have been assessed by their provincial student loan offfice as having a permanent disability are eligible for a full-time loan at 40%.

Part-time Loans:  If you are registered between 20% and 40% (except students who were assessed as having a permanent disability) of a full course load, you would complete the part-time loan application.  The part-time loan is funded by the Federal Government only however you still apply through the Provincial Loan Office.

Programs Not Eligible for Government Loan Funding

Special Student Status or Qualifying programs are not funded by most provinces.  If you are taking classes to get into an upper level program (but are not currently in a degree program), you should call your Provincial Student Loan Office to see if they will fund a Qualifying year.

Certificate programs at Dalhousie are currently not eligible for government student loan funding.

Post Graduate Medicine, Post Graduate Pharmacy and Post Graduate Dentistry these programs are not eligible for Canadian or Provincial loan funding or student status. For Post Graduate Medicine, individual provinces have developed programs for the provincial portion of the student loan to not require repayment while in residency.  Currently the following do have programs:  Alberta, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.  Students from other provinces should contact their provincial student loan office for options.

Internships that are considered optional and not a required part of the degree program are not eligible for government student loan funding.

Part-time programs which have been developed to be part-time programs (for example, MBA Leardership) are not eligible for government student loan funding, either full-time or part-time loan funding.

Things You Need to Know

  • Be sure to review your loan assessment to find out how much funding you will receive and when you will receive it.
  • If you are not receiving enough funding, call your Provincial Loan Office.  You may be able to appeal the amount depending upon your individual circumstances.
  • Be sure to fully register in all of your classes for both fall and winter terms by mid-August before loans are confirmed.
  • If you are going to have a year that you will not need a loan or your loan will be late, be sure to complete a Confirmation of Enrollment (unfunded) request through the National Student Loan Service Center portal (Ontario students would complete a Continuation of Interest Free Status Application through the OSAP portal) to keep your loan in interest-free status.

Provincial sudent loans websites:

Negotiating your student loan

Most student loans are signed by Dalhousie through electronic means once your loan has been assessed.  For fall disbursments, we start confirming loans in mid-August and for winter disbursments, mid-December.  If your loan is covering both the fall and winter terms, it is very important to be fully registered in both the fall and winter term classes by early August.  Your student loan may be reassessed and reduced if you are not fully registered. 

Summer student loan eligibilty veries from province to province.  If you have questions, please contact your provincial loan office or email the Registrar's Office at

Repaying your student loan

The National Student Loan Service Center offers on demand student loan repayment webinars.  You can get all the information you need to know about repaying your student loan at the following link:  National Student Loan Service Center Repayment On Demand Webinar.

Student Loan Questions

If you have questions about your student loan assessment, please contact your provincial student loan Office.  If you have questions about your loan confirmation, please contact the Registrar's Office at


Important Note

If you drop classes through the year, it may affect your student loan. Students contemplating a change should consider the financial implications as well as the academic. Refer to the Refund Schedule for details and ask the Registrar's Office for advice before you drop a class.