Getting a Student Loan
Island students enrolled full-time in a designated post-secondary program can apply for financial assistance through both the federal and provincial student loan programs by simply filling out one application. When you apply through the PEI Student Financial Assistance’s online application, you will be assessed for Federal and Provincial loans, as well as any federal grants you may be eligible to receive.
Am I eligible for a student loan?
You may apply for a student loan in Prince Edward Island if you are:
- A PEI resident;
- A Canadian citizen or landed immigrant/permanent resident (Record of Landing required);
- A full-time student at a designated post-secondary institution
Your credit history will be checked if this is your first application and you are 22 years of age or older.
Can I apply for a student loan if I recently moved to PEI?
You can declare you are a resident of Prince Edward Island if:
- You established residency in PEI as a single dependent student and have not spent 12 consecutive months in another province;
- PEI is the most recent province in which you have lived for the last 12 consecutive months and, during this time, you were not a full-time student; or
- You established residency in PEI based on your spouse’s employment while you were married and chose to remain here to study after your relationship ends.
What is the deadline to apply for a student loan?
You need only one application to access funding through both the federal and provincial program. Your application will not be processed until you provide all documentation and all appropriate signatures.
The following deadlines are strictly enforced:
July 15: It can take 4-6 weeks to process your application. If you want your loan to be in place before classes begin in September, submit all necessary documentation before the middle of July.
November 18: To receive loan funding for both semesters, submit your application by mid November of your year of study. A complete application must be received a minimum of 6 weeks before your last day of school to be processed.
The Pre-Study Report deadline is March 17, for university or college students attending a traditional two-semester program starting in September or six weeks prior to the study end date for all other programs. Your Pre-Study Report can be submitted as soon as your program begins.
Note: You must submit all required information at least six weeks before the end of your period of full- time study and three weeks before the end of each part-time course. Awards are not retroactive and cannot be issued after the end of your study period.
If you plan to appeal your assessment, submit your completed application for appeal six weeks before the end of your study period. Your pre-study report must accompany your appeal if you have not already submitted one.
How much money can I borrow?
The amount you can borrow in combined federal and provincial student loans is determined according to your assessed financial need and within the weekly maximum amount.
Your financial need is the amount you are expected to contribute (financial resources) subtracted from your total allowable expenses. For current allowable expenses and expected contributions based on your student category.
The combined weekly maximum amount you can borrow is as follows:
Canada Student Loan - $350 per week of study;
Prince Edward Island Student Loan - $187 per week of study
Example: 34 week program 37 week program
$350 × 34 weeks = $11,900 $350 × 37 weeks = $12,950
$187 × 34 weeks = $6,358 $187× 37 weeks = $6,919
Total available $18,258 Total available $19,869
What is my student category?
In order to complete your application properly, you must first determine your student category. Choose the option below that best describes your situation before you begin your program of study:
CD – common-law relationship with dependent children, i.e. you and your common-law partner:
- both are the natural parents of the children you are raising; or
- filed your income tax return as common-law partners in the most recent taxation year.
CN – common-law relationship without dependent children (You must verify two years of co-habitation or shared income tax returns.)
DE – single dependent student, none of the other categories apply to you
ID – current or former ward of a government agency or both parents are deceased.
IM – widowed, separated or divorced and are not the custodial parent of any children
IW – out of high school for at least 2 years, and have made a minimum of $9,000 per year while not studying full-time at a post-secondary institution (must provide verification)
IS – out of high school at least 4 years
MD – married with dependent children
MN – married without dependent children
SP – You are a single parent (single, separated, divorced or widowed) with dependent children living with you full time during your period of study.
What is considered a full-time student?
University: You must be enrolled in at least 60 per cent of full course load per semester, three of five courses.
Public or private college: You must be receiving at least 20 hours of instruction per week.
Spring and summer sessions: You must take minimum three (3) academic university courses from May to August or attend an approved program at least 12 weeks in length with at least 20 hours of instruction per week.
If you have a documented permanent disability you may take a reduced course load (40%) and still be considered full-time.
Restrictions on number of weeks for full-time funding
Full-time students are no longer entitled to receive further financial assistance (loans, grants, or in-study interest free status) once they complete a study period in which they reach/exceed their maximum of 340 weeks of financial assistance over the entire course of their post-secondary education.
PhD candidates are eligible for a maximum lifetime financial assistance limit of 400 weeks.
Students with permanent disabilities are exempt from the study periods + 1 limit. They also have a lifetime financial assistance limit of 520 weeks.
What if I don’t complete my program of study?
If you are at university, you must successfully complete at least 60 percent of a full university course load each year to remain eligible for student loans. If you attend community college, trade school, or a private training school, you must successfully complete each year.
- If you are unsuccessful in one study period, you will be placed on probation and must pass all remaining years of your program.
- If you are unsuccessful in two study periods, you will not be eligible for a student loan for 12 months.
- If you are unsuccessful for three study periods, you will not be eligible for a student loan for 36 months.
How much am I expected to contribute?
You are expected to contribute to your educational expense with earnings from your pre-study period, based on the number of work weeks available. Even if you do not work full time, you are expected to have the minimum pre-study contribution described below:
High school: 10 weeks ($1,100)
College: 14 weeks, possibly ($1,550)
University or workforce: 18 weeks ($2,000)
Pre-study earnings: You are expected to contribute 80 per cent of your discretionary income (gross income after tax deductions and living allowance).
Study period income: You must report all part-time earnings from work during your study period. A $100 exemption per week of study for these earnings will be applied automatically.
Other financial resources: If you have other resources or income supports, you are expected to use them, e.g. investments, training allowances, scholarships and bursaries, alimony or maintenance benefits, RESP’s.
Are my parents expected to contribute?
If you are a single dependent student (DE), your parents are expected to contribute based on family size, income level, and number of children in your family attending a post-secondary institution. Your expected parental contribution is added to your resources on your application. To calculate the expected parental contribution, visit the Parental Contribution Calculator on the CanLearn.ca website.
Your parents’ signature is required on the declaration and consent form that you will download at the end of the online application. Make sure you and your parents report your complete income tax information correctly. All files are subject to audit and all information will be verified with the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Parents who are separated or divorced: Provide information for the parent who has full or primary custody of you, or with whom you reside most of the time. If this is your first application, you do not need to provide proof of marital status. However, if your parents’ marital status changed since your previous application, provide a copy of the separation/divorce papers, and confirm which parent has custody of you as well as the amount your non-custodial parent has agreed to contribute.
- If you are under age 18 and your custodial parent remarried or entered a common-law relationship, provide financial information for your step or common-law parent.
- Your parents’ contribution is based on the income tax return from the previous year. If your parents’ income in the current year is lower than the previous year, you can request your application be reassessed based on the income of the current year. Income will be verified through the Canada Revenue Agency.
How will family-related expenses affect my student loan?
If you are married, both you and your spouse are expected to contribute towards the cost of your education.
You can claim certain family-related expenses which will be factored into your student loan assessment.
Dependents - You can claim anyone accepted as a dependent on a CRA income tax return:
- Children, 18 years of age or younger, fully dependent on you for support or for whom you have legal custody or control;
- Children, 19 years of age or older, enrolled full-time in a post-secondary program and considered a single, dependent student.
Child-care costs – You may be asked for proof of child-care costs. You can claim for the following:
- Children under age 12 providing no parent is at home but not if a parent is at home, unemployed, or studying through correspondence.
- A disabled child over age 12 providing you include a letter from your doctor verifying the need for child care (You do not need to provide a letter each year; simply specify that a letter is on file at Student Services.)
Spousal information - If both you and your spouse are applying for student financial assistance from PEI, you do not need to provide duplicate information. Your files can be cross referenced.
If your spouse is unable to provide support, please provide a note explaining the situation. For example:
- Your spouse is unemployed.
- He or she is a seasonal worker or temporarily off work; state the expected date to return.
- If your spouse is unable to work, explain why, e.g. illness, care of young children.
Can I get other financial assistance with a student loan?
You may be eligible for a non-repayable grant or bursary, depending on your student category, family size, and income level and the length and location of your study program.
For the 2020/2021 Academic year, the following Canada student grants will be doubling due to Covid-19:
Eligible students enrolled in a program of at least 60 weeks duration may receive up to a maximum of $750 per month, (equivalent to $6,000 per 8-month school year) based on their income and family size.
The exact amount awarded is determined according to a single progressive threshold under which the size of the grant gradually decreases as income increases, with the rate of reduction varying by family size.
The grant is a fixed amount that shall not be further reduced based on student need and may exceed a borrower’s assessed need. The grant amount gradually reduces to zero as income increases; however, to ensure a minimum grant amount is provided to all eligible students, and grant awards of less than $100 per period of study should be rounded up to $100 accordingly.
- Low-income students (full-time) may receive $400 per month for each dependent child who is under age 12 at the beginning of the school year
Students with permanent disabilities will receive up to:
- $4,000 per year towards the cost of tuition, books, and accommodation. Appropriate medical documentation is required. Visit our Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities page for more information and required forms.
- $8,000 per year for special services and equipment such as tutors, note-takers, interpreters, Braille, or technical aids. (Separate application is required.)
Awards and Bursaries
Island students planning to attend any post-secondary institution may receive a Community Service Bursary for volunteering while in grade 10, 11 or 12.
Island students enrolled in post-secondary programs at UPEI, Holland College, Collège de l'Île and Maritime Christian College do not have to apply for the following awards and bursaries:
Who can I contact about student loans?
Student Financial Services
176 Great George St., P.O. Box 2000
Telephone: (902) 368-4640
Fax: (902) 368-6144