Changes while you're in school…

Q. I'm thinking of cutting my course load back to part-time studies. Will that affect my loan?

A. Yes. First of all, part-time students need to make interest payments on their loans during school. Second, if you don't make sure your lender knows you are still in school (with an updated confirmation of enrolment), you'll be asked to make full payments on your loan.

Of course, if your lender just didn't realize you were still in school, you can sort that out with them. But in the meantime, it could get stressful. You don't want to risk putting your loan into default status.

Don't make this decision until you can talk to someone at your financial aid office. If you're thinking of switching to part-time for financial reasons, there might be a better alternative in your case.

Q. What if my financial situation changes when I'm in school?

A. If you end up with less – or more – income during your pre-study or study period, you're expected to update your provincial or territorial student assistance office so that you don't get sent too much or too little money for your needs.

Yes, too much money would be a problem for you, because you'd later be asked to repay your 'over-award'.

Discuss your financial changes with someone at your financial aid office if you don't know how big the changes need to be to warrant new paperwork.

Q. What happens if I can't finish my program?

A. Tell your lender as soon as possible. You don't want to take any extra loan money you don't need for class because now that you're leaving school, you'll have to repay it all with interest.

You'll have to start making payments on your loans after that 6-month 'grace period'. It applies to everyone, no matter when or why they leave school. If you can't pay, apply for interest relief ahead of time. If you don't have income low enough for interest relief, revise your terms for a smaller monthly payment. You can always pay the loan faster later on, when you have more money.