Runner Run-Down: Don't Groan Over Your Student Loan
Important info to consider when signing up for debt
Paula Aguilar, Contributor
Considering the price of university tuition, coupled with the ever-rising cost of living in the province, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for B.C. students to be able to afford postsecondary education without the help of a Student Loan. This somewhat faustian agreement with a bank or government can be hard to comprehend, so here are a few points to keep in mind when signing on the dotted line.
Student loan files are subject to verification at any time. Any time during your studies you could be asked to provide utility bills, rent receipts, pay stubs, day care payments, child care subsidy, bank and financial statements, and tax returns to prove that the information that StudentAid BC has is correct and has not been falsified. Your funding will be held until audits are completed and any false statements or failure to disclose information can restrict you from financial assistance for up to five years.
By signing the agreement with StudentAid B.C. you are giving them access to private information. When you sign the student loan agreement you authorize Canada, its contractors, B.C., and any B.C. collection agent to get information to locate you from any of your current, past, or future employers. This includes name, SIN, banking information, permanent and alternate address, and telephone numbers. They also will now have access to your bank account and permission to withdraw money directly from it for accrued interest or missed payments.
To stay eligible for funding while at school, you must attend for the entire study. Student loans require you to report any changes in program of study, study period dates, marital status, and sources of income. If you stop attending classes or drop below your required course load, you may be considered withdrawn for student-assistance purposes. Further funding by Studentaid B.C. will be denied after withdrawing two times from school.
Student loan payments are required to start six months from your study period end date. During those six months, interest will accumulate on your student loan. You have the choice to pay the interest or have it get added to the principal loan. If you fail to make payments for two consecutive months, you could be denied further financial assistance, or you could be required to immediately pay all or part of your outstanding loan balance.
It is important to remember that most of the decisions that are made by StudentAid B.C. can be appealed. There are free advocates who you can contact in order to get help with any Student Aid B.C. question or any issues with student loans, such as those at PovNet.org; or, you can talk to the financial aid assistants at your school.