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Canadian Student Loans

Student Financial Services allows Canadian students to use Canadian government, provincial, and territorial loans and grants, as well as education lines of credit through Canadian banks, in order to finance their HLS education.  

The most common loans are Canadian government and provincial/territorial loans and grants.  Canadian students should not let prior awards, or lack of awards, through the Canadian government deter them in applying as a graduate student. Many of our current Canadian students borrow the maximum amount allotted from these two funding sources each year and several students have annually qualified for Canadian grant assistance as well.  Typically, Canadian students need or want to borrow more than the amount they receive from these programs.  There are two main resources available in these situations: Canadian education lines of credit through a Canadian bank and the Harvard University Employee’s Credit Union Education Loan program open to all Harvard students. You may use both the government and the bank loans to replace the HLS base loans offered to you on your initial HLS financial aid award, or you can choose to keep any portion of the HLS loans and use the Canadian loans as additional funding as long as the total amount of your funding, from all sources, does not exceed the student budget of $78,700.  For HLS grant recipients a minimum amount of $43,100 is required borrowing in order to receive your HLS grant.

Canadian students, like any other student, will want to consider several factors in determining which loans will best meet their needs.  We have outlined several key points for you to think about when considering your loan choice in our section titled How Do I Choose a Loan Program?  Remember to also consider the cost of transaction fees when borrowing a loan from Canada and withdrawing the funds at US currency conversion rates.  Additionally, HLS institutional loans, unlike the Canadian education lines of credit, offer borrowers generous protections we think are important for our students to have such as forbearance, no in-school minimum payment, death and permanent disability, and a six month grace period after graduation during which no payment is required.

For Canadian students who choose to borrow through an education line of credit, we will require a copy of the approved application with the approved amount on it.  Additionally, each time a student withdraws funds from the line of credit, we will require documentation of the withdrawal (the amount withdrawn and at what conversion rate). 

Our Low Income Protection Plan program (LIPP) will cover Canadian government and provincial /territorial loans as well as Canadian education lines of credit under the standard guidelines of the LIPP program.  Loans that are not specifically education loans will not be covered; nor will Canadian consumer loans.  If you have a specific loan in mind and it doesn’t fall within the guidelines listed above, it is unlikely the loan will be approved by our office or eligible for LIPP assistance during repayment.  Before you apply for such a loan, please send documentation to our office for review.

As a general note, it is important for you to start the application process early since it will take several weeks for your application to be processed through the Canadian government.  

Last modified: June 04, 2013

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