Repayment Assistance

CSLP offers a number of programs to assist students who find themselves facing financial difficulty during repayment. Among these programs are:

Interest Relief
Interest Relief is designed to help students meet repayment obligations if they are temporarily unable to make payments on their government student loans because of unemployment or low income. Interest Relief is granted for periods of six months, up to a maximum of 30 months. Some exceptions, such as Canadian residency, may apply. Students may also be eligible for a further 24 months of Extended Interest Relief. Once approved for Interest Relief, students are not required to make payments on either the monthly interest or the outstanding principal of their loan(s) (the federal and/or provincial government will pay the interest on a student's behalf).

Debt Reduction in Repayment
Debt Reduction in Repayment is designed to help students facing long-term financial difficulties manage the repayment of their Student Loan(s). DRR lowers the principal amount of a loan, thereby reducing the monthly loan payment to an affordable level based on family income. A student can receive up to three reductions (totalling up to $26,000) on their Canada Student Loan principal during their lifetime, depending on financial circumstances.

Revision of Terms
Revision of Terms is a feature that provides students with the flexibility to manage loan repayment in a way that is responsive to individual situations. It can be used to decrease the monthly payments by increasing the repayment period (from the standard 10 years up to 15 years) should a student find the standard terms difficult to maintain. It can also be used to increase loan payments by reducing the repayment period, allowing more rapid repayment of a loan.

Permanent Disability Benefit
Permanent Disability Benefit allows for the reduction of loans for students who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship due to a permanent disability. The eligibility criteria varies based on date of loan negotiation and lender. A recent Access to Information request indicated that over 60% of applicants to this program were denied loan forgiveness.

These programs are currently under revision and will gradually be replaced by the Repayment Assistance Program beginning in August 2009.

To qualify for these programs one must be a resident of Canada. Graduate students who are studying abroad and have exceeded their maximum allowable weeks of study do not qualify for any assistance in repaying their loans. Neither do other Canadians who no longer reside in Canada.