All Your Canada GSL Questions Answered

What is Canada GSL?

Canada GSL is short for Canada Government Student Loan.

It’s one of the student aid programs offered by the federal government, administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Its main purpose is to help low- to moderate-income families and students with disabilities or dependents with the expenses they accrue over the course of their post-secondary education.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be eligible for more than one provincial or territorial grant.

When you apply, the CRA will assess your eligibility for all the available grants and figure out what is owed to you.

The way the Canada GSL is structured, or whether you can even get it at all, will depend on the province or territory where you primarily reside.

For the most part, there are two portions of the Canada GSL: a loan portion and a grant portion.

From that, the grant portion of the Canada GSL does not need to be paid back to the government, but the loan portion does, with interest, after you graduate from your post-secondary program. 

Key Insight

There are lifetime limits on student aid: full-time students can’t receive financial student aid for more than 340 weeks, unless they are enrolled in doctoral studies (up to 400 weeks).

Student graduation hats in the air

Canada GSL Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the Canada Government Student Loan depends on which province or territory you live in – each one has its own criteria.

Some of these requirements will depend on the length of your program and your course load, but, for the most part, you must:

  • Be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • Live in a province or territory that supports Canada GSL
  • Be enrolled in an education program that is qualified

Each province and territory has their own website that states the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

If you want to apply for Canada GSL or see if you qualify, click here.

In provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, the federal government works directly with the province to give you integrated loans and grants.

In Alberta, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, Canada student loan grants are offered both in the form of Canada GSL and separately through the student funding programs of the province.

Since Quebec, Nunavut and Northwest Territories manage their student loan procedures independently from the federal government, they don’t offer Canada GSL.

If you live in a province or territory that supports Canada GSL, the amount you receive will depend on several factors, including:

  • Which province/territory you live in.
  • Your family income.
  • Whether you have children or dependents.
  • How much your tuition fees and living cost.
  • Whether you have any disabilities.

If you want an estimate of how much Canada GSL you could get, click here.

Is Canada GSL Taxable?

Canada GSL is not taxable.

The loan portion is repaid, so it’s not considered a taxable benefit, and the grant portion is covered under the scholarship exemption if you use it to partially cover costs relating to your schooling.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to pay back Canada student grant?
  • Is Canada student Grant part of OSAP?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.