How to Get a Student Loan with Bad Credit

Date posted: Sept. 10, 2015

Canadian universities are known around the world for their affordable tuition and excellent attendance rates, but some students struggle when it comes to getting the money they need – especially if they have bad credit. Fortunately, even with bad credit, you can still get the degree you want from your desired university.

Apply for Scholarships and Grants First

Before you attempt to take out large sums of money in student loans, it is wise to apply for grants and scholarships first since you do not have to pay this money back. There are many resources available, and websites like can help you find them. Since each Canadian province handles its own school funding, it is important to determine what sort of grants are available in your province. For the most part, people who are permanently disabled, women enrolled in doctoral studies, individuals with children, and people who need exceptional financial assistance qualify for grants.

Try Specialized Lenders

Many grants and scholarships will not cover the full tuition required to earn a degree, so you will need to save or borrow the rest of your tuition. One of the best ways to get a student loan with bad credit is through a specialized lender. These lenders do not rely fully on your credit score when they make their lending decisions. Instead, they consider other things, such as your employment history, your income, your expenses, and in this case, your academic record. Be prepared to pay interest rates as high as 18%, however.

Find a Co-Signer

Many Canadian banks offer low-interest student loans, but without good credit, it is all but impossible to obtain them. These banks determine their risk by looking almost solely at your credit score, not taking things like your academic history or your employment into consideration. If you make enough money to repay a traditional student loan through a bank comfortably, then a co-signer may be all the help you need. These individuals sign the loan contract along with you, essentially making themselves liable for the loan if you default on your payments. Finding a co-signer is easier if you have a decent income and you are reliable when it comes to repayment.

Try the Royal Military College

On the other hand, whether you have good credit or bad credit, the Royal Military College is a great way to get the education you need without a ton of debt when you graduate. You can enroll through the Regular Force Officer Training Plan, or ROTP, and get free tuition, books, and equipment for use at the Royal Military College or another approved Canadian university – and that is on top of a salary with benefits. For many, including people with excellent credit, the military provides an excellent opportunity for a debt-free education. Be sure to research all of your options before you make any final decisions.

Integrated student loans are available through the Canadian government in the Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and British Columbian provinces. Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia offer loans alongside financial assistance. Finally, in Quebec, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, government-funded student loans are not available as these jurisdictions have their own programs.

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