How Do I Apply for Loans?

What are student loans?

A student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and its associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. Think of a loan as borrowed money. The government lends you this money to help you pay for school. And like any borrowed money, you have to "return" it eventually. So the expectation is after you graduate, you pay it back.

But I was always taught not to take out a student loan!

Student loans have such a bad rep because students are never taught how to manage them accordingly. Key strategies, like ensuring that the loan stays in high-interest savings account unless you really need it, can help to mitigate the chances of it turning into a bad experience! Often budgets are also overlooked by students overwhelmed with all the new information and freedom that post-secondary brings!

Student loans open other opportunities for you as a student! For example, bursaries and certain grants.  

How to apply for student loans

  1. Go to your province's Student Aid website. For a full list, visit
  2. Complete the application of the provincial government's website.
    • Make sure you apply early! Most first-time applicants take a little longer to fill in the application.
    • Qualifications for a student loan depend from province to province, so make sure you go through the application carefully.

    Considerations for your application:

    • Your parents' income will be considered if you are a "dependent."
    • You will need to know your own income (if applicable).
    • If you have disabilities or considered low-income, there may be non-repayable grants available to you.

    You've been approved!

    Congratulations! You know you have been approved because you will receive a "Notice of Assessment." When you receive your notice of assessment, you want to pay attention to 3 key items:

    1. The total amount of funding you have been approved.
    2. Any non-repayable grant funding awarded to you.
    3. Any amount of "unmet" need you have. (Pro-tip: this unmet need can be bridged by external bursaries or help you solidify the case for financial need).