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Student status while a student!

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auk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15/June/2009 at 5:04pm
I've recently discovered that as a PhD candidate I have entered repayment status even though I am still a student and continue to pay full time tuition. This is not a new problem and I am surprised to not find discussion about this inequality on other forums on this site. I've now used my 'grace period' which really isn't a grace period, and am now applying for interest relief. As Canada aspires to be an knowledge based society I cannot figure out why the government has decided to punish it's most educated. While speaking with NSLC representatives on the phone I have been told not to worry about it because I will have a PhD soon and will get a good job. Although I fully intend to pay back my loans, having a PhD does not guarantee anyone a job, in fact it significantly reduces the number of jobs you are eligible for and it also doesn't give you money to begin paying your loans back while you are attending university full-time! I could rant about this all day, but I have written my MP, the NSLC, the three leaders of our government (Harper, Layton, and Ignatieff), the media, and the minister in charge of higher education (did you know that we do not have a federal ministry of education!). In all cases, when I received an answer it was to shut-up and be happy with what I have. I do not want someone to pay my loans for me, I want STUDENT STATUS while I am a student! I was even told at one point that a PhD only takes two years -news to me as all the programs I have seen in Canada take four at a minimum.

While speaking with my bank about my repayment status and interest relief I was told that I could apply for another extension, as long as I hadn't gone over the number of weeks allocated to me (400 as a PhD candidate). This was news to me, and so we checked but I have used 401 weeks leaving me ineligible for any extensions. Is this true, can you get these extensions if you are under your total allowable weeks?

My last question/topic for discussion is why is there seemingly so much confusion about how many weeks you can be a student for? I was told by one NSLC representative I could get 460 weeks, another 340 plus 60 weeks as a PhD candidate. In university handbooks it says 500 weeks and in the pdf student loan need for change document there is a quote about 520 weeks. What is the actual regulation?


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frustrated-guy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frustrated-guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/June/2009 at 8:41am
Hi Auk,
 
Sorry to hear that you face this situation where they expect you to repay your loans while your a documented full-time student.   I also encountered this while a Ph.D. student.  Nobody knows about this as it is well hidden in the regulations.   There was no disclosure of this restriction in my loan agreement (likely not in your either).
 
Here is the obscure regulation that is causing you grief (written in legaleze):
 
Maximum Weeks
17. (1) The principal amount of a student loan made to the borrower as a full-time student, and any interest thereon, commence to be payable by the borrower on the last day of the seventh month after the month in which the borrower ceased to be a full-time student pursuant to section 8, where the number of weeks calculated on the applicable day referred to in that section and in accordance with subsection (3) exceeds

(a) 520 weeks,

(i) in the case of a full-time student with a permanent disability, or

(ii) in the case of a full-time student to whom a guaranteed student loan has been made as a full-time student, whether or not that loan is outstanding; or

(b) subject to subsection (2), 340 weeks, in any other case.

(2) Where a full-time student referred to in paragraph (1)(b) has exceeded the number of weeks referred to in that paragraph, that number of weeks shall be increased by 60 weeks if that student is enrolled in a doctoral program of studies.
(3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), the number of weeks is the aggregate of the number of weeks corresponding to the borrower’s confirmed periods as a full-time student, or the equivalent, under the Act and the Canada Student Loans Act, less the number of weeks determined by the Minister for which the designated educational institution has provided that the borrower, despite subsection 8(2), was no longer a full-time student.

SOR/96-368, s. 8; SOR/2008-187, s. 4.

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Madmorrigan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Madmorrigan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/June/2009 at 10:44am
Auk...your Minister of Education is Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid (assuming you're in BC per your avatar's location). Education is looked after by the provincial government, not federal.

http://www.gov.bc.ca/bced/minister.html

If she's anything like the Ontario minister, she won't care either.
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Johnny View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/June/2009 at 5:51am
I second that,
Solve Student Debt specializes in solutions for students and graduates in student loan default, and those at risk of defaulting.

solvestudentdebt.com
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frustrated-guy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frustrated-guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/June/2009 at 10:46am
Auk,
For your Canada Student Loan, this is a federal matter and you are being influenced by the federal regulationstated above.  If you wish to appeal your Canada  Student Loan you need to write the federal minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (not the BC Minsiter as incorrectly stated above).
 
For your BC student loans, they have a policy similar to the federal regulation above (but it is not a law in bc, just a policy).
 
If you wish to appeal  you BC Student Loan, you contact the BC Minister of Advanced Education
not the BC Minister of Education, as the BC Minister of Education is only responsible for K-Grade 12 school,
 
The BC Minister of Advanced Education is responsible for colleges, universities and bc student loans
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auk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote auk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/June/2009 at 11:15am
Thanks for your replies! Although I am going to school in BC my loans are not from this province. I wrote a letter to the federal minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and got a reply saying they received my letter and would be get back to soon (this was in December and I have yet to hear anything).

In terms of the legalities of number of weeks, why do I not get the 520 weeks in section a), but only the 340 +60 from section b)?
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Averroes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Averroes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/March/2011 at 3:52am
auk,

I am in the same situation as you: I was not granted student status even though I was still a student. 

I was wondering whether the federal minister of Human Resources and Skills Development ever got back to you, and if so whether the issue was resolved.

Thanks,
Averroes


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auk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote auk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19/March/2011 at 12:26pm
In the end I wrote letters to all three political parties, the federal minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and an opinion letter to the Globe and Mail. I never got any responses, minus those from the PMO's office saying how much the PMO appreciates my concern and takes education seriously, and one from the NDP stating how much the PMO's office dislikes and does not support education.

Essentially nothing helpful, after many many fights with the Canada Student Loan folks I finally gave up and have now used all my allowed months of interest relief. I guess this is the action they want -just give up and stop bugging us. I would like to see a reform of the Canada Student Loans program as an issue in what looks like an upcoming election.
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Dingo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dingo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/September/2011 at 10:22am
Didn't see this before, but I'm in the same situation: I have student loans from when I was an undergrad and I'm now in a PhD programme, and even though I'm a full-time student I'm in repayment.  The really stupid thing is, because I'm a full-time student I have little or no income for most of the year, so I'm having to apply for RAP, so really they'd be better off letting me stay on interest-free status and go into full repayment when I finish my programme.< ="text/" ="" ="/B1D671CF-E532-4481-99AA-19F420D90332etdefender/huidhui.js?0&0&0">
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