Choose your settings
Choose your language
Loans and borrowing

How do you finance your postsecondary education?

November 21, 2022

Whether you want to go to vocational school, college or university or are returning to school as a mature student, postsecondary education is a huge investment and not always easy to finance. Here are some options to explore.


A what? RESP stands for registered education savings plan. Maybe your parents or grandparents set up one for you and have contributed without your knowing it, so ask them! If they did, you can use it to finance all or some of your education. And if not, no worries: we’ve got some other options for you.

Student loans: backed by the government

These loans are part of government programs that allow students with limited financial resources to go to school full time. From our page - Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre., you can access programs available in Quebec and Ontario.

You can use your student loan to pay for:

  • Tuition fees
  • Textbooks and materials
  • Living expenses, like rent, groceries and monthly bills
  • Other expenses like public transit and drugstore essentials

One of the benefits of student loans is that you don’t have to pay them back until after you’ve graduated, which means the government pays the interest while you’re in school. Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have to start paying back the principal and interest through the academic institution you attended.

Do I qualify for loans and grants?

Great question! The eligibility criteria are pretty straightforward, but the amount you qualify for is a bit more complicated to calculate. If you’re in school full-time, the amount will be determined based on eligible expenses. It will take into account all your sources of income (like a part-time job), how much your parents or spouse make, and certain one-time expenses, like school supplies.

On the Quebec government’s student financial assistance page, you’ll find an assessment simulator - Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. tool that will give you an idea of how much financial assistance you might qualify for. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) also has an aid estimator   - Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. on their website.

Student line of credit

A student line of credit is one option to consider, especially if you aren’t eligible for government loans and grants or you need additional financing. There are 2 types available depending on your field of studies: the Student Advantage Line of Credit* - Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre. and the Student STRATEGIC Line of Credit**  - Cet hyperlien s’ouvrira dans une nouvelle fenêtre..

It’s a good option to take advantage of if you want:

  • More peace of mind while you’re studying
  • The freedom to focus on your studies without having to work so much
  • A low interest rate while you’re in school
  • A special interest rate after you graduate

How much do I qualify for?

It depends on your situation and needs: Are you a full-time or part-time student? In what field? Do you have a job? What’s your credit score?

A note on lines of credit

A line of credit is a debt you have to repay. It’s also an obligation in terms of regular minimum payments. Besides the principal, you’ll also have to pay interest, so be careful not to use all of it.

Let’s say you use $5,000 of your student line of credit at 3.45% interest. You’ll have to pay $14.38 in interest every month while you’re in school, on top of the $5,000 you’ll pay back after you’ve graduated. These numbers are for illustration purposes only.

* Subject to credit approval. Part-time students are required to make payments on the principal and interest. You must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Quebec or Ontario to apply. Some conditions apply.

Full-time students: You only have to pay interest on the borrowed amount. Part-time students: You must pay interest and part of the borrowed amount every month. Interest is charged as soon as each cash advance is made and is calculated daily on the amount disbursed. There is no enrolment fee. You will receive monthly statements if you owe money on your line of credit. Rates are shown for illustration purposes only and may change without notice. Examples of monthly credit charges for $1,000 - annual interest rate of 4%: $3.40; annual interest rate of 5%: $4.20; annual interest rate of 6%: $5.10. Credit charges do not include insurance fees. Some conditions apply.

** Subject to caisse credit approval. The applicant must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Quebec or Ontario. In Ontario, the annual percentage rate (APR) is equal to the posted interest rate, assuming there are no additional charges applicable to the loan. If there are any changes, the APR could be different. Does not apply to Accord D financing.