The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
According to the Government of Canada, federal student loan payments are suspended (without interest charges) for six months until September 30, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, what does this mean? To help you understand what to expect, we’ve gathered some information from the National Student Loans Service Centre website. The National Student Loans Services Centre (NSLSC) administers the federal portion of student loans.
If you’ve already started to repay your student loan:
- If your payments are happening through pre-authorized debit, they will be automatically stopped. This means that you don’t have to do anything.
- If you are making payments in other ways like by cheque, you don’t need to make payments until the end of September.
- If you choose to, you can still make payments. Do that by logging in to your secure NSLSC account and using the Make a Payment option or you use online banking.
What about interest?
Interest will not be charged on your student loans from March 30, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
- If your loan was issued by British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, or Saskatchewan, this pause in payment applies to both the federal and provincial portions of your student loan.
- If your loan was issued by PEI, Nova Scotia, Alberta or Manitoba, the suspension on the accrual of interest only applies to the Canada student loan portion. This is because the NSLSC only administers the federal portion of your loan. (See the section about what the other provinces are doing at the bottom of this page.)
This doesn’t affect you if:
- You are still in school. This is because you don’t have to make payments and interest doesn’t accumulate when you are still studying.
- You are in your six-month non-repayment period. Payments are not required during this time.
More about the non-repayment period:
- The non-repayment period is already interest-free for Canada, BC and Newfoundland & Labrador loans.
- If your non-repayment period is ending between now and the next six months, payments and interest will automatically be suspended until September 30, 2020.
Additional student loan information for other provinces and territories:
- The provinces of PEI, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Alberta have also suspended student loan payments and interest charges until September 30, 2020.
- While we couldn’t confirm the source, the government of the Northwest Territories and the Nunavut government may have also announced that student loan payments are halted until September 30, 2020. Please reach out to your student loan contact to confirm this information.
- While it appears that there isn’t currently a pause on payments, the Government of Manitoba does not currently charge interest on student loans. Their website asks students to watch for updates on student support.
Please understand that it will take some time for the suspension to be reflected in your NSLSC online account, so please be a bit patient. For more information about Canada student loans, including repayment options for October, visit the National Student Loans Service Centre website.
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Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.