About Us

Who Student Finance 101 Serves

This help-site (known as both Debt 101 and Student Finance 101) has free resources that help:

  • High school students (how to finance their post-secondary education)

  • Current students (how to get their education with minimum debt)

  • Former students (how to cope with education and other debt)


Student Finance 101 Builders


Founder/Publisher: Jeannine Mitchell

Sponsor: True North Financial Education Group

Software and Web Project Manager: Tao Liu

Web Developer: Tom Ho

Software Developers: Yicent Chen (Co-ordinator), Teresa Zhou, Jonathan Lew and Nicolas Arnaud.

Calculator Developers: Tao Liu, Yicent Chen, Teresa Zhou, Jonathan Lew, Nicolas Arnaud and Tom Ho. Thanks also to Alison Nishihara (Kwantlen) and Dorothy Kelt (Taxtips.ca) for their calculator advice!

Original Website Design: www.nex-dimension.com 

Graphic Design/Logo: Darcy Milieu

Drupal and Design Consultants: Dale McGladdery, Katy Laan and Steve Liu.

Contributing Writers: Christopher Sun and Rodney Noriega

Finally, thanks to all the others who’ve contributed along the way (in alphabetical order):

Ian Boyko, Gord Christmas, Brent Calvert, Moira Farr, John Fuerst, Pat Gill, Elspeth Home, Michael Hughes, Margaret Johnson, David Keevil, Douglas Kung, Professor Moshe Milevsky, Christian Nally, Nick Robillard, Susan Rose, Spencer Rose, Erika Shaker, Michelle 'Mimi' Smith, Vanessa Turke, Joan Vincent and Doug Welbanks.

Student Finance 101 also thanks unnamed sources of information at unnamed government departments! 



About the Publisher/Founder

While Student Finance 101 plans to add more credited content from other sources and now publishes work by other volunteers, the site is primarily built with original content from founder and publisher Jeannine Mitchell.

Mitchell is a former associate editor with Financial Post Moneywise magazine. Her work has won national awards, appearing in a wide range of publications, including the Toronto Star, Financial Times, This magazine, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Moneysense, Macleans.ca, Canadian Business Online, Georgia Straight, BC Business and Hotwired.com. She has led personal finance and media workshops and belongs to the CFU and Canadian Association of Journalists.



Why Student Finance 101 is Still Needed 

24 (!) years after this website first launched, the need for help with student finance has grown across Canada:

  • Tuition fees still increase at twice the rate of inflation
  • Student debt-loads keep growing
  • Enrolment rates are down among low-income students
  • A majority of university students now require student loans

Most young Canadians need some form of higher education to make a living wage. So they must accept rising debt-loads, which are increased by the high interest rates for student loans - as much as 5 percent above prime.

Yet despite the pressure this has put on students, Student Finance 101 remains the only online help-site of its type open to all Canadians, regardless of their client status or type of student loan. It's also the only online service in Canada with such a broad range of resources. Our goal is to offer a one-stop service that makes it easier to manage student loans and other student finance issues.

Since the need is growing, Student Finance 101 will try to expand its resources to help fill service gaps in Canada's current system of higher-education financing.



History of Student Finance 101/Debt 101 

The Debt 101/Student Finance 101 help-site first went online in March 1999, to address the heavy debtloads that followed soaring tuition costs and cutbacks in student grants.

The goal of its founder, Canadian finance writer Jeannine Mitchell, was to offer free advice and support to students anxious about graduating with debt-loads ranging from $30,000 to $90,000-plus.

Debt 101/Student Finance 101 (the site name flipped back and forth in early years) soon expanded to advise students across Canada on related topics. These included: saving money, avoiding student debt, accessing student aid programs, handling credit cards and repaying debts with minimum stress and cost.

During the first 10 years of this help-site, provincial and federal student loan programs have changed repeatedly, keeping their rules confusing for students and grads. To keep up with these changes, Student Finance 101 content has had to be rewritten on a regular basis. All work was (and and is) volunteered and the site lacked the resources to meet growing needs across Canada for free, independent and practical help in coping with student financial issues.

While the Debt 101/ Student Finance 101 website was praised by site users, student organizations and Member of Parliament Libby Davies (then the NDP's higher-education critic), its scope was limited by a lack of funding that continues. However, when this led us to announce plans to close in 2006, local businesswoman and credit counsellor Margaret Johnson called for the site to continue. Given her initial donations, she is listed as a Student Finance 101 Builder. The year 2009 brought the formation of a non-profit society (Student Finance 101 Society) and the arrival of talented volunteers. Volunteers and Society members are of course also listed as Student Finance 101 Builders, as are others who have helped along the way. Thank you all!

Finally, in 2009, we changed the website banner back to Student Finance 101 from Debt 101. That's partly because we want to broaden our content beyond Canadian student loans and loan aid programs. And it's partly because we want to aim for the positive: Yes, someday your student loans will end!  


The Future of Student Finance 101 

Student Finance 101 had to invest in order to expand, as the need is growing for help-site support.

To give an example, we'd like to help high school students learn how to plan a more affordable post-secondary education. The tools and advice on Student Finance 101 could help these students reduce the pressure of student loans, credit cards and other forms of debt.

In early 2009, a non-profit financial education society was registered in BC in hopes it would assist with our community outreach work. This is the Student Finance 101 Society.



Student Finance 101 is a non-profit community service to help you successfully manage financial challenges such as student loans. We strive to give you full and official details along with our other free tools and resources. However, your lender and/or government services must be the final word on all points related to your student loans or other debts.

Your use of this website means that you understand and agree to our terms of service