We wanted to share with you the latest in what the Canada Student Loan Program is doing in support of borrowers in Fort McMurray. We are making it easier for borrowers in and around Fort McMurray to get onto the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) by allowing them to provide a verbal attestation of their inability to pay their loans due to the fire, rather than requiring an online or paper application and the documentation normally required for RAP, such as proof of income for the last month. What this means is that if someone was able to make payments in April but can tell an NSLSC agent that they can’t for May and in the foreseeable future, the agent will be instructed to accept that and assess them for RAP so that they could benefit from six months with an affordable payment.
This went into effect on May 12, 2016. Q&A are below for your information.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q1. How are Canada Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers impacted by the wildfires in and around Fort McMurray, Alberta?
A1. Canada Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers currently studying in or around Fort McMurray may not be able to continue their studies due to the evacuation or damage to the buildings and infrastructure in the 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 Fort McMurray studying elsewhere in Canada may need to discontinue studies to deal with the situation at home.
Q2. How many Canada Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers are impacted by the wildfires in Fort McMurray?
A2. There are approximately 2500 borrowers with a permanent address in and around Fort McMurray, just under 2000 of those are currently in repayment of a Canada Student Loan.
Q3. What is the Government of Canada doing to assist Canada Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers impacted by the wildfires in Fort McMurray?
A3. The Government of Canada is making it easier for Canada Student Loan borrowers with a permanent address in Fort McMurray to manage their student loans. Impacted borrowers in repayment can benefit from expedited and easier access to the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP). None of the Canada Apprentice Loan borrowers are currently in repayment at this time as it is still a new program.
Q4. How is the Government of Canada making it easier for impacted Canada Student Loan borrowers to manage their loans?
A4. Impacted borrowers in repayment who need help with their Canada Student Loans can call the National Student Loans Service Centre at 1-888-815-4514. 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 borrowers in Fort McMurray, exceptional circumstances will be taken into account so they can be approved more easily and expeditiously.
Q5. What is the Repayment Assistance Plan?
A5. RAP reduces Canada Student 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 Government, under Stage 1, will pay the interest owing for up to 10 six-month periods or 60 months. Under Stage 2, the government will begin to pay the interest and principal payments on the borrower's behalf. For more detailed information on RAP, visit http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/student_loans/repayment_assistance_plan.page
Q6. How can impacted Canada Student Loan borrowers apply for student loan repayment assistance?
A6. Impacted borrowers should call the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) at 1-888-815-4514 to apply for RAP. Borrowers residing in Fort McMurray 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.
Q7. Who can apply for the Repayment Assistance Plan?
A7. Fort McMurray residents will benefit from a faster RAP application process; however, any Canada Student Loan borrower experiencing difficulty repaying their loans can apply for RAP through the NSLSC at 1‑888-815-4514.
Q8. Who can Alberta Student Loan borrowers contact for more information?
A8. Borrowers with an Alberta Student Loan who have been impacted by the wildfires should contact the Student Aid Alberta Service Centre (SAASC) at 1-855-606-2096.