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Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loans

Here are some answers to common questions about student loans:

1. When is the best time to apply?

The online application usually becomes available in early June. We strongly encourage you to apply before the start of August to ensure you receive your funding in time for when tuition and fees are due.

2. Do I have to apply for a loan each school year?

Yes, you will need to submit a new application at the start of each academic year. We encourage students to apply each year. Your financial situation can change each year, therefore, a new assessment is done based on the information you provide for that specific academic year.

3. Why would I apply for a government student loan as opposed to a bank loan?

Government student loans are interest and payment free as long as you are a full-time student.  Also you do not need to have any collateral or a co-signor to secure your loan.

4. Is there a maximum amount of money my parents can earn before I am not eligible to receive a student loan?

This is a difficult question to answer.  Your financial need assessment is based on a number of variables. Your parents are expected to contribute to your education. The amount of their contribution is based on their income level, the number of children in the family and the number of children pursuing post-secondary studies. Your need assessment also looks at your cost of attendance and your financial situation.  The bottom line is there is no harm (or fee) to apply so we encourage you to apply.

5. I live outside of Saskatchewan, can I apply for a student loan?

Yes, if you have not lived in Saskatchewan for 12 consecutive months prior to the start of your study period, you would apply for a student loan in your home province or territory.

6. I'm halfway through the semester and I haven't applied for a student loan, can I still apply?

Yes.  Typically you can apply up until the 2nd last month of your studies.  The process can take a few weeks so don't leave it until the last minute. You will still be assessed for the entire semester, not just from the date you apply.  You will also receive the full amount based on the same time period.

7. If I'm not applying for a student loan this year, do I have to start repaying my loan?

No.  You need to go to the CanLearn website and create an account. Once you've logged into your account, you can create a Confirmation of Enrollment (used to be called a Schedule 2). Once you've completed this form, we will electronically confirm your status as a student and your loan payments will be put on hold until 6 months after the end date noted on the Confirmation of Enrollment.  You will be required to make all repayments on your account that are due prior to when you fill out the form.

Repayment amounts and details are handled through the National Student Loans Service Center at 1-888-815-4514.

8. How do I apply for a loan?

Information on who is eligible and how to apply for a loan can be found on the Government Programs section of our website.

9. How much will I get?

The amount of assistance you receive can only be determined after you have submitted an application, and will depend on your personal and family situation.

The government includes the following in their assessment:

  • Income - pre-study and study period
  • Assets - RESPs/Investments
  • Parents or spousal income
  • Dependents
  • Scholarships
  • Previous years income tax assessment. 

There are maximum amounts set for a student loan that cannot be exceeded.  There are also grants and bursaries which are available and are paid out twice during the loan period.

10. How long will it take to get my loan?

Processing times will vary depending on the time of year and the type of application you submit.  Filling out the application online will produce results much quicker than the paper application.  

For Saskatchewan applicants: once your application has been reviewed, you will receive an assessment letter and a Master Loan Agreement.  You are required to sign and send in the Master Loan Agreement to the loans office. You loan will then be sent to our office electronically for us to confirm your status as a student. If the loan is confirmed you should expect to receive your funds within 10 business days.  Note: you will not receive any money prior to your start date.

For example: Your loan is processed and confirmed by your school on August 15. You will not receive your first disbursement until the start date of September 5.

11. How do I apply for grants and bursaries without applying for the loan?

You have to apply for a student loan to be considered for the grants and bursaries available.  If you are approved for a student loan, your assessment will outline how much you are eligible to receive in grant and loan money. You must accept your full amount, including both the loan and grant amounts, to receive the grant monies.

There is no penalty for paying back your loan before the repayment period, so you can always repay the loan amount right away.

12. What happens if I add or drop a course?

You need to contact the provincial office handling your student loan and let them know you have changed the credit hours you are registered in. They will update your file and reassess you based on this new information.  There are two possible outcomes for this:

  • Overpayment: if you drop a class, this could reduce your monthly disbursements or the amount of your next loan
  • Additional funds: if you have added a class this could result in additional funds for you (if you are not at the maximum amount already). 

You will receive an assessment letter outlining any changes.  

Any tuition credit resulting from dropped courses or tuition taken in excess of your actual tuition amount is sent back to National Student Loans. You will need to contact Saskatchewan Loans to let them know of your change in course load and also that you will be receiving a tuition refund. If you are eligible to receive the tuition refund for yourself, Saskatchewan Loans will reassess your loan and create a new disbursement for it.

If you are planning to drop a class it is highly recommended that you contact Student Awards and Financial Aid office (Ad-Hum Building, Rm 207). We can review your schedule and let you know if dropping that class would result in a possible discontinuation. 

13. What happens if I discontinue or withdraw from the university?

Our office will notify your province of your discontinuation/withdrawal and they will reassess your loan.  This could create overpayments which would be deducted from your next loan.

Important: a discontinuation counts as a 'strike'. After 2 'strikes' you have to wait a year before you can get a loan again. More then 2 'strikes' could result in you waiting even longer for a loan. A 'strike' happens if you withdraw or drop below full time status during your loan period. A 'strike' could also happen if you aren't successful in passing a certain percentage of your classes. (Usually at least 60% of the classes you take during a loan year must be passed).

For example: if you are taking 3 classes each semester - this is considered 60% of a course load - you must pass all classes to be considered successful. If you are taking 5 classes each semester - this is considered 100% and you would have to pass at least 6 out of 10 of these classes to be considered successful. 

Any tuition credit resulting from dropped courses or tuition taken in excess of your actual tuition amount is sent back to National Student Loans.  If you’ve applied for a 2 semester loan and have discontinued from your studies in the Fall semester, we will send the tuition we have taken for the Winter semester back to National Student Loans. You will need to re-apply for a new loan for the Winter semester if you plan to return to study.

14. I am taking a class (or more) at another post-secondary institution, how does this affect my student loan?

If you are planning to enrol in classes at more than one institution, you are considered a dual-registered student.  In order for the University to confirm your student loan, you must:

  • University of Saskatchewan: please send an email to and include your name, your U of R ID number, your U of S ID number, the courses you are taking, the number of credit hours, and the start and end dates of these courses.
  • Any other post-secondary institution: please send an email to and include your name, your U of R ID number, the name of the institution, a proof of your registration at the other institution showing the courses you are taking, the number of credit hours, and the start and end dates of those courses.
  • Request a Letter of Permission (LOP) from your faculty/college
  • Ensure that your faculty/college has registered your LOP on the U of R student information system

Please note that it is your responsibility to pay the tuition and fees at the other institution.

15. What happens if I have already paid my tuition and now my student loan money has been applied to my account?

If you have already paid your tuition prior to your student loan funds being applied to your student account, you can contact Financial Services for a refund of the payment you made.

16. I still have an amount owing on my account, why didn't my student loan pay for everything?

The amount we take from your student loan is only to cover tuition. Sometimes, a student loan does not cover the full amount of tuition so be sure to read your assessment letter carefully as it will outline how much assistance you will receive. As well, late charges, printing charges, etc. will not be covered by your student loan. You must contact Financial Services to make a payment for those charges.

17. There is a credit balance on my account from my student loan, can I get this refunded to me?

No.  Any credit that appears on your account due to a student loan overpayment must be sent back to National Student Loans.   If you have applied for a 2 semester loan, we receive tuition money from National Student Loans for both semesters, so a credit may appear on your account if you have not yet registered for the Winter semester.

18. I live in a residence on campus, how do I pay for that?

Students who live in residence must make payment at Residence Services.  The money we take from your student loan is only to be used towards tuition.  Any credit balance cannot be transferred to pay for residence fees.