Advanced education in Canada is not cheap. That’s why the Government of Canada offers hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and loans to Canadian students each year.
The Canada Government Student Loan deposit, also known as the Canada GSL Deposit, is the payment you will see in your bank account once you have applied and been accepted into the Canada Student Grants and Loans program.
As an applicant, how much you can receive in grants and loans depends on a variety of factors, such as your province of residence, your family income, whether you have dependents, and your tuition fees and living expenses.
Let’s go into the details of the Canada GSL Deposit; what it is, how you can apply, and whether you will have to pay it back.
What is the Canada GSL Deposit?
Canada GSL is the federal and provincial/territorial student funding administered through the Canada Revenue Agency.
Eligible full and part-time students will see a deposit in their bank accounts with this abbreviation once they have had their applications reviewed by the institution.
Recipients of the GSL deposit will be required to pay back the loan portion of their deposit six months upon graduation, with interest (fixed or variable depending on your choice) accruing each month.
The grant portion, on the other hand, does not have to be paid back.
You can see your loan and grant assessment and manage your funding on the Canada National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
Student loan funding is a little bit different across Canadian provinces and territories. In most cases, the federal government works with the provincial government to offer integrated loans and grants in collaboration with one another.
For instance, you will receive an integrated funding package in provinces such as New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Ontario, but will have separately administered student funding in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island.
The Canada GSL deposit is not available in Quebec, Nunavut and Northwest Territories. These provinces/territories administer their own student funding programs, separate from the federal government.
Regardless of where in Canada you live and how your grants and loans will be carried out, you must apply with your province or territory.
To be eligible for the GSL deposit, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and be enrolled in an applicable educational program (international schools may also be included in this list.)
Beyond these basic requirements, each province/territory will have different eligibility criteria based on your tuition fees, annual income, whether you have a disability, etc. It is free to apply for student loans in Canada, but it is not guaranteed that you will get funding.
If accepted, most students will get their deposit in the first week of September (before tuition fees are due for the fall semester) and again in the first week of January (before tuition fees are due for the winter/spring semester.)
No, the Canada GSL is not taxable. The GSL deposit in your bank account is not seen as a part of your income for the given tax year.
This is mainly because you will have to start paying back a majority of this funding (if it’s a loan) six months after graduating from your program. The grant portion of your deposit does not have to be paid back, but it is still not taxable.
Better yet, the Government of Canada also provides an Income Tax credit for the interest paid on government-sponsored student loans.
They will provide you with an Official Income Tax Receipt after the tax year so that you can report it on your taxes and get a deduction.
Repaying your Canada GSL Deposit: Become Debt Free
As I mentioned earlier, you must start paying back your student loans six months after you graduate from your advanced education program.
Do note that interest does not accrue on your loan during this time, but you can still make payments towards your loans. As such, this is a great time to reduce your principal, if you can.
After the six months passes from the completion of your education, you will receive a package detailing your repayment options.
At this time, you must log onto the Canada National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) where you can manage your repayment terms, such as choosing an interest rate option, changing the day of the month your payments are withdrawn and changing the payment frequency.
After this time, pre-authorized payments will be withdrawn automatically from the bank account you indicate.
If you are having trouble keeping up with your repayment plan, you can manage your repayment terms on the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC). There, you may be able to reduce your monthly payments and/or reduce your payment frequency.
Do note that interest will still be accruing even if you make such changes. The quicker you pay back your loan, the less interest you will have to pay.
If you are unemployed or experiencing financial strain, you may also be able to put a hold on your payments for a six-month period. Doing this will require an application through the Canada Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP).
If you are still having difficulty after six months, you can fill out another application.
The Canada GSL deposit will show up on your bank statement if you have been approved for student funding through the federal aid program. This deposit will include both a loan and grant portion.
Paying back your loans and becoming debt-free is the first step towards financial freedom, and I find that budgeting can really help with this.
To get on top of your budgeting, check out this post on the best budgeting apps in Canada.