Student Lines of Credit from 5 Major Canadian Banks

By Tess Campbell Modified on August 18, 2021

Everything you need to know about student lines of credit from the 5 major Canadian banks and how they compare to each other.

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Post-secondary education is not cheap, especially if you’re paying for everything yourself. It can be difficult navigating the economic world and the many financial aid options it can provide while you’re studying at school. One common option for students to use to pay for tuition, rent, supplies, and more is a Student Line of Credit.

What is a Student Line of Credit?

A Student Line of Credit is a product offered by financial institutions to help students pay for expenses related to their post-secondary education. These lines of credit are a type of loan that lets you borrow money up to a pre-set limit depending on the bank.

The benefit of Student Lines of Credit is that interest rates are typically lower than government student loans and you only have to pay back the interest rates while you’re working towards graduation. After graduation, each bank offers a grace period in which you will continue only paying back the interest rates. Once this grace period is over, you will then begin to pay back the initial amount of your line of credit and the interest rates. A Student Line of Credit can also increase your credit score as long as payments are made on time.

What is the difference between a Student Line of Credit and a Loan?

For a loan, you would have to pay back all the money and interest of the total amount that you received, whereas for a Student Line of Credit you pay back what you’ve spent and interest. For example, if your line of credit is $5,000 and you spend $2,000, you only pay back the $2,000 plus interest.

Every Student Line of Credit is unique for each bank, so we’ve put together a brief comparison between the five major Canadian banks and their Student Lines of Credit for undergraduates to help you with your search.

BMO

BMO’s Student Line of Credit offers students $15,000 in their first year, and $10,000 in each remaining year, for up to a maximum of $45,000 in four years.

Interest Rate:

The interest rate is calculated for individuals based on your program, degree, if you’re currently employed, etc.

Payment Plan:

Only pay interest on what you borrow, with no annual or monthly fees. Make interest-only payments while in school and for two years after graduation. After the two years, your repayment of your initial amount begins.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for a Student Line of credit, you must be enrolled at an eligible post-secondary school in either a diploma or certificate program. This program must be at least 12 weeks and is taught on a full-time basis (20 or more hours of instruction per week). You must also be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of enrolment
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Co-signer is required
    • co-signer’s government-issued photo ID
    • co-signer’s proof of employment such as a letter from an employer or recent paystubs
    • co-signer’s recent T4/T4A slips or RL1 if they’re a resident of Quebec, or T1 income tax return or Revenue Quebec TP1 with corresponding notice of assessment.

CIBC

CIBC’s Education Line of Credit offers a range of credit as low as $5,000 and up to $60,000.

Interest Rate:

CIBC Prime Rate*

Payment Plan:

Pay interest only on the amounts you use while you are in school, and for 12 months after graduation (or 6 months if you leave your program before graduating).

Eligibility:

To be eligible for a Student Line of credit, you must be enrolled at a Canadian university or college. You must also be a Canadian resident and you have reached the age of majority in your province. Additionally, you haven’t been declined for credit by CIBC in the past 6 months and you haven’t declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of enrolment
  • Government photo ID
  • Co-signer may be required

RBC

RBC’s Student Line of Credit offers a range of credit limits based on your program of study. These limits start at $5,000.

Interest Rates:

RBC Prime Rate* + 1.00%

Payment Plan:

During your education, you have full access to your credit line. After you graduate, you have two years to start repaying your line of credit.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for a Student Line of credit, you must be enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary educational institute. You must also be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of enrolment
  • An estimate of your education costs (including tuition, supplies, fees, accommodations, food, travel, etc.)
  • A list of your financial resources (including RESPs, scholarships/bursaries, government funding, summer employment, etc.)
  • Proof that you are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant
  • A co-signer may be required if your credit history is limited or are studying outside of Canada

Scotiabank

Scotiabank’s Personal Line of Credit for Students offers a range of credit limits based on your program of study.

For full-time undergraduate programs, you can receive a minimum credit limit of $1,000 per year and a maximum credit limit of $15,000 per year. The maximum credit limit is $40,000.

For part-time undergraduate programs, you can receive a minimum credit limit of $1,000 per year and a maximum of $7,500 per year. The maximum credit limit is $20,000.

Interest Rate:

The interest rate for the personal line of credit for students is calculated for individuals based on your program, degree, if you’re currently employed, etc.

Payment Plan:

Make interest-only payments while you’re in school and enjoy a 12-month grace period after graduation. After the grace period, you begin the process of repaying the initial amount borrowed.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for Scotiabank’s Personal Line of Credit for Students, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident enrolled in a degree program at a Canadian or American post-secondary school.

Required Documents:

  • Proof of enrolment
  • Government photo id
  • Co-signer may be required

TD Bank

TD Bank offers a Student Line of Credit for full-time and part-time undergraduate students.

For full-time undergraduate students, TD Bank offers up to $20,000 per year, with a maximum of $80,000 over four years of study.

For part-time undergraduate students, they can receive up to $20,000, with a maximum of $80,000.

The maximum amount offered for a Student Line of Credit will vary depending on your program.

Interest Rates:

For a Post-Secondary Certificate Program, the interest rate is the TD Prime Rate* + 1.50%.

For an Undergraduate program, the interest rate is the TD Prime Rate* + 1.00%.

Payment Plan:

While you are studying in school, you must pay monthly interest-only payments. After your graduation, you will have 24 months to continue making the interest-only payments and once that time is over, then additional payments are required.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for a Student Line of credit, you must be enrolled in a full-time or part-time program in an accredited Canadian university or college.

Required Documentation:

  • A co-signer (someone who can take on the payments when you cannot)
  • Your current address and previous address (if your current address is less than three years old)
  • Your monthly mortgage or rent amount
  • Your monthly payments (loans, credit cards, lines of credit)
  • Proof of enrolment at an accredited Canadian university or college

Overall, one of the most important things to remember when applying for a Student Line of Credit is to compare the bank’s interest rates because this is the amount of money that you will be repaying monthly while in school. The interest rates for most banks will typically be the bank’s Prime rate and an additional percentage, but remember that prime rates vary from each bank and are subject to change during your line of credit contract. Another important factor when choosing your financial institution for your Student Line of Credit is the length of their grace period. The longer the grace period, the more time you have until you must repay your initial amount borrowed.


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