Government student loans
If you are a full-time Canadian or permanent resident you can apply for student loans from the federal and provincial governments to support your studies.
Manitoba Student Aid is open to in-person service Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 401-1191 Portage Avenue. They are pleased to support you by phone toll free at 1-800-204-1685 or 204-945-6321. You may also send an email through their website, or check for status updates on your student aid through MYSAO.
Starting July 1, 2023, Manitoba student loans will be managed by the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC). As a result, the following changes will be in effect:
● MSA will stop accepting payments for Manitoba student loans starting July 1, 2023. Loan payments must be sent to the NSLSC instead.
● If borrowers currently have pre-authorized debit payments set up with MSA, they will need to provide these details to the NSLSC when signing the new Master Student Financial Aid Agreement (MSFAA) so that the NSLSC may set up recurring payments for their loan.
Please note that MSA will continue to handle assessments of new student loan applications, reassessments of loans and appeals for funding as that part of the MSA program is not changing.
For information on payment methods accepted by the NSLSC, please visit the NSLSC Payment Method Options site.
For more details about the Canada-Manitoba Integration Project, please visit Manitoba Student Aid.
Eligibility and application
You can apply for both federal and provincial assistance in one application. Repayments begin six months after your last day of full-time enrolment (this means the last day you attended class, not the date of your graduation).
To be eligible, you must:
- Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a protected person.
- Be a permanent resident of a province or territory that issues Canada Student Loans.
- Demonstrate financial need.
- Be enrolled in at least 60 per cent of a full course load per school term.
- Be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program that runs for at least 12 weeks within a 15-week period and is offered by a designated post-secondary educational institution.
- If you are 22 years old or older and applying for a Canada Student Loan for the first time, you must pass a credit check.
- Maintain satisfactory grades if you’ve already applied for and received a Canada Student Loan.
- Not have exhausted your maximum lifetime limit of financial assistance, including interest-free status.
To begin your application, select your province or territory from the list below.
To learn more about Federal government loans, check on the disbursement status of current loans or apply for interest-free status on qualifying previous loans, visit the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
Student loan application tips
Each year, the Financial Aid and Awards staff see some common problems. Keep these tips in mind to avoid complications with your loan application.
Loan applications for the Fall/Winter Terms are usually available in early June from your home province’s website. We suggest completing loan applications by June 30 (for Fall/Winter loans) or mid-November (for Winter Term only). If you apply later than this, the process at your provincial loan office may not be complete in time to meet the University’s fee deadlines. If you don’t apply until July or August, your loan money will most likely be late, so be prepared to possibly pay late fees on your tuition and perhaps find an alternate means to pay for rent, groceries, etc., if your loan is also covering living expenses.
Don’t wait until after you register for classes to apply for a loan! Your loan application is based on your proposed course load; actual course load isn’t required until the last stages of the application process.
Paper applications take significantly longer and unless required by your specific program, they are not recommended. As well, online applications allow you to apply from anywhere in the world. Special consideration or deadline extensions will not be granted if you applied late because you were out of town.
Register for both terms
To qualify for a government loan, you must be a full-time student with at least 9 credit hours in each term, for a total of 18 credit hours (minimum). If you only register for the fall term, but your loan application is for fall and winter, you will not receive your loan until your actual course load matches your loan application. There is a common misconception that since the winter term is so far into the future, students can wait until later to add January courses. You should have your schedule from September to April complete when you register for classes in June/July.
Your provincial loan office may request signatures, supporting documents or other information mid-way through the loan process. For Manitoba students, this is in the Notice of Assistance you receive in the mail. If you do not provide these documents the whole process stops and your application will not proceed any further and no money will be issued. As well, be sure to note when supporting documents are required. Forms from employers aren’t usually required until after the Fall Term starts. Don’t delay sending in other documents if your employer forms aren’t ready.
Keep copies of your paperwork
It makes problems easier to solve if we can refer directly to the original paperwork and know where you are in the process.
Ask for help!
Most important of all, don’t hesitate to call the UM Financial Aid and Awards office or your provincial loan office to ask for help! A ten-minute phone call in the summer can save weeks of waiting in the fall, as well as saving you money in extra expenses (late fees, credit card interest, borrowing from family, etc.) if your loan is delayed. Even if you have previous student loan experience or have friends who “know all about student loans,” get advice from the experts and get it early!
How to maintain Interest Free Status while you're a student
Your enrolment will be confirmed by your province or territory and educational institution if you have received (or will receive) new funding before your repayment start date.
If you are not receiving new funding, then to keep your student loans payment-free, request that your enrollment be confirmed by your educational institution. To do so, through the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) website, please login into your account with them and use the "Confirm My Enrolment" feature. Should you have any difficulties finding this feature, please contact the NSLSC.
Repaying your student loans
You must begin repaying your government student loans six months after your last day of full time enrolment (this means the last day you attended class, not the date of graduation). When you are in school full time and have informed the government for that period of study, your full-time loans are not charged any interest. However, after your study period ends, interest begins accruing on your loan.
The government should mail you information regarding repayment one to two months before you are to begin your repayment. Do not ignore anything that the government sends to you regarding your student loans; failure to repay your loans in a timely manner could negatively affect your credit rating and follow you for years to come.
If you have trouble making payments, call your government student loan lender at once and ask about available repayment assistance plans.
For information on Federal government loan repayment (obtained after the year 2000) contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).