As a recent graduate, you may be struggling between finding a new job and paying off your student loan. In an ideal world, everyone would have a good paying career after he or she finished her or his post-secondary education. However, in reality, students often have difficulty to find a job following graduation.
Making monthly loan repayments immediately after graduation while landing a good job can be a difficult task. Fortunately, there are services and programs issued by the government to help you pay or even reduce your student debt. Thanks to loan forgiveness, many students have one less weight on their shoulders.
Loan forgiveness or giving back to the community
The National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) administers different programs which provide assistance to individuals coping with reimbursement. One of these programs is the Canada Student Loan forgiveness. It aims to relieve some graduates from financial pressures. This loan forgiveness was exclusively created for medical professionals. It encourages new medical graduates to work in remote communities, consequently, improving the quality of primary care in these areas.
Family doctors and family residents’ loans can be reduced up to $8,000 per year to a maximum range of $40,000 over five years, while nurses and nurse practitioners can save up to $4,000 per year to a maximum range of $20,000 over five years.
The forgiveness program works for an entire year and can be used more than once. Canada Student Loan Forgiveness is a federal program and, as such, available mostly everywhere.
Where can you apply?
You should notice that in some provinces or territories, student loans are issued separately by the federal and provincial or territorial governments. In this case, you can have more than one loan to reimburse, but, on July 2012, all of the provincial student loans was integrated with the NSLSC.
However, Quebec, Nunavut and Northwest Territories have different and specific student loan programs. This province and these two territories do not participate in the federal Canada Student Loan Program. Indeed, they operate their own student assistance plan. Check their provincial government website to see if they offer student loan forgiveness.
In order to apply to one of the Canada Student Loan forgiveness, you need to verify your eligibility.
To be eligible, you must have:
- started your current employment (full-time, part-time or casual) as an eligible medical professional in an underserved rural or remote community on or after July 1, 2011;
- been employed for 12 consecutive months in an underserved rural or remote community. It is important to note that this does not apply to residents in family medicine;
- provided in-person services for at least 400 hours in that community;
- a Canada Student Loan that is in good standing;
- submitted an Application for Canada Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses.
Unfortunately, not every medical professionals are eligible. Here is the list of professionals who can be qualified:
- family doctor;
- family medicine resident in training with an accredited medical school in Canada;
- registered nurse;
- registered psychiatric nurse;
- registered practical nurse;
- licensed practical nurse;
- nurse practitioner.
It is important to note that professionals can work in many communities or for multiple employers during the year.
Application Form For Loan Forgiveness
You need to fulfill the Application for Canada Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses. The form requires many essential elements. The first section is about you. You will need to provide personal information such as your license number.
The second section is about your employment. If you work for an employer, you need to provide an attestation from your employer dated and signed. If you are self-employed, you must have a local official attestation also dated and signed. Local officials can be mayors, members of a legislature, an official at a local hospital, etc.
The next section is to inform the National Student Loans Service Centre about any loan balances you may have with other financial institutions. You only have to provide the name(s) of the institution(s).
Section 4 is an automatic revision of terms. Once the loan forgiveness is approved, a revision of terms will be processed to reduce your payment. The number of payments will remain the same. If you do not want to have your loan payment reduced, you have to put your initials in the space provided.
Do not forget to sign and date in section 5.
The sixth section is about your employment insurance. If you took a break of more than one month and receive Employment Insurance such as maternity or parental benefits, sickness benefits and compassionate care benefits, you are still eligible. You then need to complete this section. Answer section 7 if you work in multiple remote areas.
You are now ready to send your form by mail!
Even if you are not eligible for the Canada Student Loan forgiveness, you may be eligible for other forms of loan remission in your city. Many options exist for you. You just have to start searching! Do not forget the key is to be organized when you start paying back your student loan. There are even many ways to repay it fastly and avoid the high-interest rates.