Managing your loan

Cashing your student loan

The Master Student Financial Assistance Agreement (MSFAA) replaces previous federal and provincial loan agreements. Since it's a multi-year agreement, it's more efficient and easier to use. For instance, you won't have to sign a new agreement the next time you apply for student financial assistance (unless you take a 2-year or more break in your studies.

  • Your responsibilities and the terms and conditions of accepting and repaying your student loans are outlined in your MSFAA.
  • It is crucial that you read the terms and conditions to learn your responsibilities from application to repayment before signing.
  • You must sign and return your MSFAA as instructed to receive your student loan disbursement.

The MSFAA must be submitted at a Canada Post outlet or direct to the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) by the student as soon as possible to ensure your loan is processed in time to start your courses.

Keeping your loans interest-free

If you have returned to full-time studies at Athabasca University and have previous government student loans, you may be eligible to keep your loans in interest-free status.

You must contact your provincial or territorial student assistance office to determine what to do to ensure your loan service provider(s) get your confirmation of enrolment information processed on time.

These rules vary from one jurisdiction to another across Canada.

AU's Student Financial Aid Office can confirm your full-time status as appropriate for your situation.

For non-funded students (students who are not receiving student financial aid for the new term) to be granted full-time status, the minimum course load required is 2 credits per month. This aligns with the Revenue Canada calculation. For more information visit the registrar.

Repayment of your loan

With most government student loan programs, you have 6 months after your post-secondary studies end before you have to start paying back your loan. However, interest does accumulate during this period.

You will need to start making student loan payments when you:

  • have graduated from your studies,
  • have transferred to part-time studies,
  • have dropped your studies altogether,
  • are taking more than 6 months off from school, or
  • have reached your lifetime limit for financial assistance.

There are 3 things you need to know to repay your student loans:

  1. how much to pay
  2. when to make your payments, and
  3. what steps you need to take to set up your payments.

Visit the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) website for more information on when, where, and how to repay your student loans.

The Government of Canada and most provincial and territorial governments offer repayment assistance measures to help you repay your student loans if you're experiencing difficulty or unable to make your payments. Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre and your provincial or territorial student financial aid office to discuss repayment assistance options.

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Updated August 23, 2021 by Digital & Web Operations (