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Home > Manage Your Money > Loan vs. Line of Credit

Loan vs. Line of Credit

Understanding funding options for school can be a daunting task. As with any other major life decision, it pays to do your homework. Here’s a comparison chart to help you study up on the difference between a student line of credit and a government student loan.

The good news is that you can apply for a government student loan and a ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students at the same time. And best of all, you can apply for a ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students anytime you want – it’s no longer something that you only do at the beginning of the school year or at the start of a new semester.

Let us know if you have questions.

What is it?


Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Government funding for students pursuing post-secondary education who are in financial need
  • Loans provided while the student is enrolled in school
  • Must be paid back with interest after student graduates
  • Loan amount is based on financial need and parents’ income
  • Loans may be provided in lump sum and paid directly to the post-secondary institution




  • A personal line of credit that helps students pay for their post-secondary tuition and student expenses when needed
  • Make interest-only payments while in school
  • No cost if there is no balance on your line of credit
  • Students will receive a 12 month interest-only grace period following graduation
  • Regular principal and interest repayment begins 12 months following graduation, and payments can be amortized for up to 15 years.
  • Can be used as supplementary funding for students who require more than what they receive from Government Student Loans
Who qualifies?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, or Protected Persons.
  • Must meet provincial residency requirements
  • Enrolled in an approved post-secondary institution and approved program.



  • Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Enrolled in a diploma, certificate, apprenticeship, undergraduate or graduate program at a Canadian or American post-secondary institution
  • If you are studying medicine, dentistry, optometry, law and other professional programs learn more about our Scotia Professional® Student Plan.
How do I submit an application?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Applications available at high school or post-secondary financial aid office
  • Students of Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick or Newfoundland and Labrador must submit applications through the Integrated Loan Program
  • Students of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia must have a Canada Student Loan and a Provincial Government Loan
  • Students of Quebec, Northwest Territories or Nunavut will only receive provincial or territorial financial assistance
  • Students of Yukon apply for Canada Student Loans through territory office


Online applications available at:


How much money is available?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Assessed based on tuition costs, parents contributions, personal income, school enrolment status and etc.
  • Sufficient funding will be provided to students to cover all student costs (e.g. tuition, residence, related expenses)
  • Loan Calculator: Student Financial Assistance Estimator tool from the CanLearn Website.




  • Full-time undergraduate/diploma students
    • Up to $15,000 per academic year
    • Maximum $40,000
  • Part-time undergraduate/diploma students
    • Up to $7,500 per academic year
    • Maximum $20,000
  • Full-time certificate and apprenticeship students
    • Maximum limit per academic year is based on the number of years of the program
    • Maximum $20,000 ($10,000 for part-time students)
  • Graduate Students
    • Maximum limit per academic year is based on the number of years of the program
    • Maximum $100,000
    • If the student has already borrowed the maximum under an undergraduate program ($40,000), the maximum credit available for a graduate program is $60,000.
What are the application deadlines?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Deadlines dependent upon provincial/territory office
  • Recommended that applications are submitted before tuition due dates




  • Students can apply any time during the year
  • Recommended that applications are submitted a few months before tuition due dates to ensure funds are available when needed


What will be my parent's involvement in this process?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • The more income your parents earn, the lower the amount of financial aid you will receive
  • To determine if you will be eligible for government loans based on parents’ income, use the Parental Contribution Calculator




  • A supporting borrower is usually required for undergraduate students
  • Graduate students may apply without a supporting borrower
If I am approved, when can I expect to receive the funds?


Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Approximately 4 to 6 weeks for application to be assessed
  • Students will receive a portion of their loan at the beginning of their study period and the remainder halfway through their study period


  • Funds available shortly after application approval
  • A visit to the local branch accompanied by the supporting borrower(s) is required to sign the line of credit documentation and open a student bank account


When do I have to start paying back the loan?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • 6 months after graduation
  • Repayment period usually takes 9 ½ years and can be extended up to 15 years




  • Monthly interest-only payments required while attending school
  • 12-month grace period after graduation on principal repayment
  • Regular repayment including principal and interest required after the grace period, with amortizations up to 15 years
What is the interest rate?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Provincial Loan: Prime + 1.0%
  • Federal Loan: Floating interest rate is prime + 2.5% or fixed interest rate is prime +5%
  • Full-time students: Interests accrues after graduation
  • Part-time students: Interest accrues and must be paid on part-time Canada Student Loans while in school




  • As low as Scotiabank Prime + 0.50% (subject to change without notice)
Do I have to reapply for every year I am in school?

Government Loans
ScotiaLine® Personal Line of Credit for Students

  • Yes


  • No, the line of credit amount is approved for the entire duration of study
  • Funds are provided on an annual basis
  • Proof of Enrolment is needed if you wish to receive next year’s allotment



For more information, please contact the Scotiabank Credit Solutions Support Centre at 1-800-972-6842 or email@scotiabank.ca, or visit your local Scotiabank branch.


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