Government Student Aid Overview

Awards and Financial Aid

What is Government Student Aid?

The Government of Canada offers student grants and loans to full-time and part-time students. Grants and loans help students pay for their post-secondary education.

  • apply for grants and loans in one application, directly with your province of residence
  • you don't need to repay grants you receive
  • you need to repay loans after finishing school, with interest
  • you may be eligible for more than 1 type of grant - when you apply with your province, they will assess your eligibility for all available grants

Benefits of Government Student Aid

  • No interest while you are a full-time student
  • No payments required while you are a full-time student
  • No co-signer or collateral required
  • Applying for a provincial loan initiates the process by which your eligibility is evaluated for grants
  • Assistance is available if you experience financial hardships during repayment

How Much Funding Can I Get?

 A visual of a financial need calculation with bright circles that reads Expenses minus Resources equals Unmet Financial Need


The amount you can receive in grants and loans is calculated when you apply with your province or territory.

Assessments are done for each student independently.

The amount you can receive depends on several factors, including:

  • your province or territory of residence
  • your family income
  • if you have dependents
  • your tuition fees and living expenses
  • if you have a disability

Watch a Video About How Government Student Aid Works

The National Student Loan Service Centre offers the Government Student Loans and Grants Orientation Webinar.

This 17-minute presentation will provide a thorough overview of the process and include such topics as how to apply, what loans and grants are, the stages of a student loan, repayment information and how to use your National Student Loan account.

We recommend that all first-time borrowers watch this video.

Government Support Programs During COVID-19

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19.

This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI).

From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of:

$1,250 for each 4-week period or

$2,000 for each 4-week period, if you have dependants or a disability.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Emergency Response Benefits and Government Student Aid

CERB and CESB are considered income replacement programs. As a result, CERB or CESB received during the study period may be treated as student study period income. Check with your provincial student aid branch if you have any questions about receiving both the CERB or CESB and government student aid funding.

For more information on these programs or to apply, follow the links above to the Government of Canada website or contact Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).