Temporarily interrupted studies and student loans: when does repayment start? | Protecteur du Citoyen
February 10, 2021

Temporarily interrupted studies and student loans: when does repayment start?


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Are you a full-time or part-time student who must interrupt your studies temporarily? Note that in certain situations, you can postpone repayment of your student debt. However, Student Financial Assistance (AFE) requirements must be met.

Student debt repayment

The Loans and Bursaries program is funded by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur. Under this program, the Department covers the interest on your student loan during your studies. Generally, as soon as you stop your studies, you start paying interest. 

After you finish or give up your program of studies, you must start repaying your student debt (loan + interest). You have six months at most to begin repayment.

In certain situations, AFE allows you to postpone repayment of the debt if you interrupt your studies temporarily. Depending on the case, the Department may continue paying the interest. When this happens, interrupted studies have no impact on the total debt.

Special situations

A few situations justify postponing repayment of an AFE loan if you interrupt your studies temporarily.  Here are the most common ones: 

  • You are at least 20 weeks pregnant;
  • You became a parent recently (mother or father);
  • You have medical disability lasting more than one month;
  • You were elected as an executive officer within a Québec student association or a province-wide student association.

Who qualifies?

To qualify for postponed repayment, there are two other requirements:

  • You have studied for at least one month in the preceding six months; and
  • You intend to continue studying after the interruption.

The timeframe for resuming studies ranges from 8 to 24 months, depending on the case. If you do not resume studying by the deadline, AFE will consider that you have withdrawn from your program of studies and you will have to repay the debt based on the rules that apply. 

Questions or problems?

For more information, or if your situation is different from the ones listed above, contact AFE. If you are struggling financially, find out about the measures that may make it easier for you to repay your debt.

Dissatisfied with AFE’s services or other Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur programs or services? Contact the Québec Ombudsman. We act independently and our services are confidential and free.