Student loan applications on the rise
Can you borrow enough to make it through?
If your parents started putting away money for your education the day you were born, you probably don’t need to worry about how you’re going to pay tuition. A lot of students aren’t that lucky.
At Mount Royal University, the average academic year (eight months of school) costs around $6,100 —— with another $1,300 needed for books and supplies.
The maximum amount you can borrow for a provincial student loan is $60,000.
Lynette Runions, manager of financial aid at MRU, said that they see around 30 to 40 per cent of eligible students applying for loans –– almost 4,500 students last year alone.
Additionally, you may be living away from home, adding around $9,345 to $11,435 — an estimated cost, which doesn’t include the cost of a car or parking, according to MRU’s budget calculator.
Runions said the number of students applying for loans seems to be slightly on the rise. One of the big reasons is a change to the eligibility standards for Alberta student loans.
When looking at a student’s situation in regards to a loan application, the province used to check the income of the student’s parents and wouldn’t grant the loan if the parental income was too high.
Without this restriction, Runions said a lot more students have become eligible. However, parental income is still needed to apply for Canadian student loans.
Runions explained because there are no graduate programs at MRU, there are not many students who reach this loan limit. If you do, national loans are always an option. These can last for up to 340 weeks (over six years full time), so both loans combined should be able to get you through all of your post secondary education, she added.
Even with the increases in eligibility for loans in Alberta, there was unfortunately a decrease in grant money. Runions has been working with other of- fices in Western Canada to try to find more grant options for low-income students because Canadian grants also look at parental income.
The one thing Runions cautions against is failing to stay on top of your loan repayment. Make sure that the loan office has the right contact information for you, and that you are regularly making your payments, she said.
She warned that if you are having any problems with the payment, don’t ignore it.
If you are trying to figure out what your education may cost you, you can use the degree calculator at: http://www.mtroyal.ca/Admission/MoneyMatters/CostsofEducation/index.htm