July 17, 2017
Financial Aid Officers
To Whom It May Concern:
Thousands of British Columbia residents have been impacted and displaced by the wildfires across the province. Impacted residents include provincial and/or federal student loan borrowers in study or repayment who reside, study and/or work in the affected areas. The Governments of British Columbia and Canada have implemented the following measures to help student borrowers manage their loans during this time:
Borrowers currently in-study unable to continue their studies due to evacuation or damage to buildings and/or infrastructure in their community should not see their current student loan funding impacted. Institution officials may contact StudentAid BC for more information, and/or to update StudentAid BC as to the institution’s operational status, at 1-800-561-1818.
Impacted borrowers in repayment with a permanent address in affected communities may benefit from expedited and easier access to federal and provincial Repayment Assistance Plans (RAP). To learn more, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/student-financial-aid/student-loan/student-loans/student-loans-repayment-assistance-plan.html for more detailed information on repayment assistance. Impacted borrowers in repayment who need help with their federal or provincial student loans can call the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1-888-815-4514.
- Borrowers in default can contact Revenue Services of British Columbia (RSBC) at 1-866-345-3930 or by email at RevenueServicesBC@gov.bc.ca.
- Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers can call the Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC) at 1-855-844-5670. They will be placed on a priority call list and a senior agent will help them apply for RAP (completing RAP applications by phone instead of on-line or by mail can speed up the process).
- For all impacted borrowers, exceptional circumstances will be taken into account so they can be approved for assistance more easily and expeditiously.
- The following websites can provide further information on impacted areas over the next few days:
- Government of B.C.’s website for the current wildfires of note: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation
- Canada Post website: https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/blogs/announcements/details.page?article=2017/07/10/mail_delivery_alert_&cattype=announcements&cat=servicealerts
The attached Question and Answers document provides more detailed information that borrowers with Canada Student Loans and/or Canada-B.C. Integrated Loans may need if they are affected by the B.C. wildfires. Thank you for your assistance in making these resources known to students at your institution.
Student Services Branch
Institutions and Programs Division
Ministry of Advanced Education
British Columbia Wildfires
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q1. How are Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers impacted by the wildfires in British Columbia?
A1. Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers currently living or studying in areas of British Columbia affected by the wildfires may not be able to continue their studies due to evacuation or damage to the buildings and infrastructure in their community. Borrowers in repayment who reside and/or work in the area may have difficulty making their loan payments during the period that they are evacuated and if their homes or places of employment have been damaged. Permanent residents of these communities studying elsewhere in Canada may need to discontinue studies to deal with the situation at home.
Q2. What are the Government of Canada and the governments of the provinces with integrated provincial student loans doing to assist Canada Student Loan/Integrated Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers impacted by the wildfires in British Columbia?
A2. The Government of Canada and the five integrated loan provinces are making it easier for borrowers with a permanent address in affected communities to manage their loan repayment. Impacted borrowers in repayment can benefit from expedited and easier access to the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP).
Q3. Which provinces have their loans integrated with Canada Student Loans?
A3. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador have their student loans integrated with Canada Student Loans.
Borrowers from these provinces can contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1-888-815-4514 regarding their Integrated Student Loan.
Q4. Where can borrowers from non-integrated provinces and territories get more information?
A4. British Columbia residents in affected communities with student loans from Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can contact the NSLSC at 1-888-815-4514 regarding their Canada Student Loan, and the province or territory with whom their provincial loan is with.
Borrowers with loans from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Quebec can contact the province or territory.
For provincial and territory student loan program contact information, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/student-financial-aid/provincial-offices.html
Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers can call the Canada Apprentice Loan Service Centre (CALSC) at 1-855-844-5670.
Q5: I am a borrower currently in-study who is not able to continue my studies due to evacuation or damage to buildings and/or infrastructure in my community. Will my current funding be impacted?
A5: In the case of a short-term interruption of study due to the wildfires, the time that you are unable to attend classes will be considered part of your study period and will, therefore, have no impact on your funding as long as you recommence classes at the end of the period of school closure.
If your program is extended to ‘make up’ class time missed due to closure, you can request a reassessment and be eligible for additional funds for the additional study period. If it becomes necessary in any program to cancel the semester/term, you will not be penalized for non-completion of this semester. In other words, an overaward will not be calculated on your funding. For more information, please contact StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818.
Q6. How are the Government of Canada and the five integrated loan provinces making it easier for impacted Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers to manage their loan repayment?
A6. Impacted borrowers in repayment who call the NSLSC or the CALSC will be placed on a priority call list and a senior agent will help them apply for RAP (completing RAP applications by phone instead of on-line or by mail can speed up the process). For these borrowers, exceptional circumstances will be taken into account so they can be approved more easily and expeditiously.
Q7. What is the Repayment Assistance Plan?
A7. RAP reduces Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan or Canada Apprentice Loan payments to what borrowers can reasonably afford, based on their family income and family size. Depending on their assessed need, eligible borrowers may not be required to make any payments. While on RAP, which is provided in six-month increments, the governments, under Stage 1, will pay the interest owing for up to 10 six-month periods or 60 months. Under Stage 2, the governments will begin to pay the interest and principal payments on the borrower's behalf. For more detailed information on RAP, visit:
Q8. How can impacted Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan borrowers apply for student loan repayment assistance?
A8. Impacted borrowers should call the NSLSC at 1-888-815-4514 to apply for RAP. Borrowers residing in affected communities will be placed on priority client care lists at the NSLSC. Senior call centre agents will address their exceptional circumstances when they call in. The agents will walk these borrowers through the application process, facilitating document transfers and setting up temporary mailing addresses as required.
Q9. Who can apply for the Repayment Assistance Plan?
A9. British Columbia residents in affected communities will benefit from a faster RAP application process; however, any Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan or Canada Apprentice Loan borrower experiencing difficulty repaying their loans can apply for RAP.
Q10. How many Canada Student Loan/Integrated Provincial Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers are impacted by the wildfires in British Columbia?
A10. As of July 14, 2017, a total of 3,612 federal and/or provincial student loan borrowers have been identified as residing in the affected regions, including 1,097 borrowers currently in repayment status, 2,261 in default and 254 currently in study.