When You're Struggling Financially
1) You've already come to Student Finance 101, so use the information and tools we've put here to help you manage your student loans.
We're here as a community service to help you get free of your debts as quickly, cheaply and easily as you can. So play around on the site or use our search engine to target what you need among our hundreds of pages of original content.
For example, here are some of our articles that help you avoid - or end - a financial crisis:
And there are examples of other crisis resources in Student Finance 101's Useful Links:
But let's say you've already looked at our information and you're still stuck. You still don't see how to go far enough in financial strategies, budgetting or getting the student loan aid that you need. Consider the following...
2) Talk to your friends, family, mentor or religious leader. You may get new ideas just by hearing another person's perspective.
3) There are also good books and websites to help you take control of your money. If you get your books from the library, this help won’t cost a penny.
4) If that isn't enough, get professional advice from a counsellor specializing in finances, credit, debt or bankruptcy – whatever your situation calls for. Their staff should be able to tell you over the phone if you might benefit from their services. The first consultation is usually free, and you could go elsewhere if it doesn't feel like the right service for you. Although we haven't learned of any that have special expertise in the complex subject of student loans, here is an updated list of Credit and debt counselling societies across Canada. It includes discussion of independent (for-profit) counselling as well, since there are two approaches.
When it comes to government student loans, always check your counsellor's advice with your student loans lender – or Student Finance 101. Financial advisors and credit counselors mean well, but it is hard for them to keep up with all the details of Canadian student loans!
For example, a common debt management strategy is to consolidate all your loans together. But as we warn you on our help-site, this can be a bad idea. If you include your government student loans, it could backfire! (See Thinking of Consolidating Student Loans? Think Again.)
The same goes for bankruptcy. Student loans are a special case, so you shouldn't just take your trustee's word that all will be well. There are strict rules involved with student loan bankruptcy, so you should ask for evidence that your student loans will be successfully included ("extinguished") along with the other debts in your bankruptcy.