While you are registered as a full-time Carleton University student in an OSAP-approved program, you can postpone student loan repayment. As the name implies, interest-free status also prevents interest from accruing on your outstanding loan balance while you are completing full-time studies. The Government of Canada and/or the Province of Ontario will pay the interest on those loans on your behalf. To get it, you must notify the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) of your continued full-time enrollment in post-secondary studies.
In order to be eligible to apply for, and receive interest-free status, you must;
- Have received student loans prior to the current academic year for which you are applying for interest-free status
- Have not defaulted on any previous government student loans
- Be registered as a full-time student, or currently in a co-op or work term
Getting Interest-Free Status
In order to have your loans placed into interest-free status, the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) and/or bank (for loans before 2001) need to know that you are enrolled and in school full time. If you have applied for OSAP and your application has processed, an automatic Confirmation of Enrolment process will take care of this for you. In some cases, a Continuation of Interest-Free Status/Confirmation of Enrolment (CIFS) application will need to be submitted.
If your OSAP application has processed
Carleton will use an electronic process to confirm your enrolment to the ministry who will then inform the NSLSC.
If your OSAP application is on hold
If your OSAP application is on hold (e.g., missing documentation), be aware that Carleton cannot automatically confirm your enrolment to the Ministry until it is fully processed. In this case, your previous loans may go into repayment and you will have to start repaying them even if you are in school full time. To avoid that, submit all necessary documentation and address all outstanding items on your OSAP application OR complete a Continuation of Interest-Free Status/Confirmation of Enrolment (CIFS) application (see below).
If you have not applied for OSAP
If you are not applying for OSAP for the upcoming year, but want your prior loans to remain in interest-free status, you must complete a Continuation of Interest-Free Status/Confirmation of Enrolment (CIFS) application (see below).
Students that are in a co-operative education program are eligible to apply for full-time OSAP funding while in a work-term. While in co-op, you are considered a full-time student and are not required to start paying back your student loans. If you have received OSAP funding in previous terms, but will not be applying for OSAP during your work term, complete a CIFS application to avoid entering loan repayment.
Applying for CIFS
Once classes begin for your new study period, log into your account at ontario.ca/osap and complete and submit a Continuation of Interest-Free Status application. Carleton will review your application and confirm your enrolment to the Ministry. If the information is complete and valid, the ministry will inform the NSLSC.
It is critical that you submit the CIFS application to your school in enough time for it to be approved and processed within 6 months from the end of your last term. In the case of students who left school in April and are starting a new term in September, the CIFS application should be submitted no later than October 15. If you delay, you may not get full interest-free status and you may be required to pay some interest. A CIFS application is not valid if submitted after the end of your current study period. The date of the CIFS application cannot be made retroactive.
Important Facts About Interest-Free Status
- The Continuation of Interest-Free Status application cannot be completed after the last day of classes for a given study period.
- If you have not notified the National Student Loan Service Centre that you have returned to school as a full-time student before the end of the 6 month grace period your previous loans will go into repayment.
- Applications submitted after the end of your study period will not be accepted & those submitted within the last 13 days of your study period may not be accepted.
- The minimum required course load must be maintained in each term of the study period. No averaging of course loads between terms is permitted.
- If you drop below the minimum required course load in a given term, you must complete and submit a new Continuation of Interest-Free Status form for the next term you are registered full time; the previous one will be null and void
Remember that you must complete a Continuation of Interest-Free Status application, and submit it before the end of your 6 month grace period to avoid accruing irreversible interest on your previous government student loan. Carleton University’s Awards & Financial Aid Office cannot automatically confirm your enrollment with the National Student Loan Service Centre.