30 April 2022 landmark
If you’re looking to study in Canada but are worried about affording it, you might be eligible for an international student loan. To be eligible, you need to have been accepted into a school that’s recognized by the Canadian government and have enough money to prove that you can cover your living expenses while studying in Canada. Once you’ve applied and been approved, here are 10 tips to help make the process go smoothly so you can start planning your trip north of the border.
1) Why do you need a student loan
You may be wondering why you need a student loan when you can rely on financial aid from your university. But, if you’re like most people and are trying to save money by paying as much of your education as possible with loans, a student loan is perfect. Even if your school offers some funding—in addition to scholarships or grants—most students find they can save even more with a private student loan because there’s no paperwork involved (and fees are often lower). If money is tight, though, consider applying for loans during your senior year rather than immediately after high school graduation; that way, you have time to build up your credit history first.
2) What are the requirements?
You’ll need a high school diploma, or if you’re under 21, your secondary school equivalent, or if you’ve graduated from university, a one-year post-graduate degree. You must also have a credit history that demonstrates the ability to make regular loan repayments. Keep in mind that there are other requirements specific to each lending institution; it’s worth double-checking before you apply.
3) Who can apply?
To be eligible for a Canadian student loan, your status must be one of these: Citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or other protected person; or Concluded full-time studies at a public post-secondary institution and intend to live in Canada as a permanent resident, or A Canadian citizen who has lived outside of Canada for less than five years. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, contact your provincial or territorial student financial assistance office.
4) Know what kind of loans you’re applying for
Different countries offer different kinds of student loans and it’s important to know which one you’re eligible for. For example, your eligibility depends on citizenship status, whether or not you have a Social Security number (if studying in America), and if you can prove that you’ve been accepted into a college. If you’re unsure what loan fits your needs best, speak with your university’s financial aid office as they’re usually well-versed on all things loans. Be sure to get all of your documents together before applying: You’ll need proof of citizenship, academic records, and more information about credit history depending on where you live.
5) Make sure you meet all the requirements before applying.
You might assume that you’re eligible for an international student loan if you’re a citizen of a foreign country, but that’s not always true. In fact, if you don’t have permanent residency or refugee status and want to study in Canada, you may need to apply for a student visa. And even if your status is appropriate, you could still be denied funding based on other criteria such as age and citizenship. For example, there are strict limits on how many non-permanent residents can obtain loans from both provincial and federal programs—so it’s critical that you understand these rules before submitting your application. If something doesn’t seem right or feel right – Stop! Think!
6) Get your documents ready.
The first step to applying for international student loans is figuring out which documents you need. Start by reading through your loan provider’s requirements and gathering together all of those things (and don’t forget to check that you have your passport on hand). For example, a US federal loan requires a certified copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate, as well as some form of personal identification, like a driver’s license or national ID card. The more prepared you are when you apply for your loan, the faster (and smoother) everything will go.
7) Know when & where to send your application.
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to check that your lender has received your loan application, so make sure you do that first. Also make sure that you send it to your lender on time, as some lenders might require a very quick turnaround—in which case missing even one day could result in a rejection. And don’t forget about any supporting documents; if required by your lender, get these prepared and submitted as soon as possible.
8) Keep on top of your applications
To find out if you’ve been approved for a loan, check your loan status on studentloans.gov. You should also keep track of when your application is due so that you don’t miss any deadlines. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so it doesn’t hurt to submit your application early — many students who apply early can receive their loans sooner than those who apply at the last minute! Check with lenders about scholarship opportunities and explore scholarships provided by universities and private companies. Many international students qualify for financial aid or need-based scholarships from their universities or from private organizations — it’s worth doing some research into your options as there might be money available for which you’re not currently applying!
9) Check status updates on your application.
Once you’ve been accepted into a program, it’s essential that you know how your FAFSA application is doing. You can do so by regularly checking your federal aid status page, which should show any updates on your application—and will tell you if you need to resubmit anything. If possible, make sure any changes are made right away; some loan programs have strict deadlines and won’t approve applications late or with missing information.
10) Lastly, remember that this process is long and difficult so be prepared.
First, students should determine if they qualify for financial aid or loans. Many students don’t realize that it can take up to six months for your status on a financial aid application to become official. To ensure you have funding in place as soon as possible, apply early! Don’t forget about applying for scholarships – these awards are often overlooked because of their nebulous nature (we don’t know what they are until we apply!). Scholarships come from private foundations and several companies, so make sure you get started now on scholarship applications.