BC Provincial Student Loan Repayment Assistance Options
The province of British Columbia offers a number of different student loan assistance or relief options for people who are having difficulty repaying their student loan or need a break for a bit. Here are four programs that are available:
Individuals who qualify for interest relief can apply to have their interest paid by the provincial government for a period of 6 months. For this time period you will not have to make any student loan payments. If you qualify you may use this program up to 5 times during the course of your loan repayment. Some individuals may qualify for extended interest relief which will cover up to 54 months over a five year period. It is important to keep in mind that during periods of interest relief your loan principal will not be paid and your outstanding balance will remain the same. This option is designed to provide temporary relief to help you avoid defaulting on your loan.
You have the option of revising your loan repayment terms directly with the BCSLSB. If you are struggling with monthly payments you can reduce the amount that you have to pay by extending the amortization period (the length of time that it will take to repay your loan). The maximum length of amortization for a BC Student Loan is 19.5 years and the minimum monthly payment allowed is $25, including interest. If you are already paying the minimum amount you will not be able to extend amortization. However if you are paying more than the minimum amount you may wish to consider extending your repayment term in order to reduce your monthly payments.
All individuals with a loan in good standing are eligible for principal deferment. This option allows you to defer your principal payments for a period of time, generally not longer than 6 months. You will still be responsible for paying the interest during this time. Note that deferring your principal payments will extend the amortization period and all loans must be repaid within 19.5 years.
Due to specific needs within the province, the BC government will grant loan forgiveness to individuals working in specific professions. Qualifying people will typical work in the health field in remote locations or as teachers specializing in working with students with disabilities. If you think you might qualify you can apply to have a portion of your loan forgiven. To learn about the requirements for loan forgiveness, click here.