Changes to BC student loan interest rates
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
It’s no secret that the cost of post-secondary education has been skyrocketing in the past 10 years. Simply just attending college or university has put many doe-eyed degree or graduate program hopefuls into debt well beyond what should be legal. Thankfully, with the new changes to student loan interest rates in BC, it is illegal—kind of.
As of February 19, all interest on BC government-issued student loans has been dropped. Previously, provincial interest on any student loan was gathered at a rate of 3.95 percent—which is the prime lending rate in Canada. Combine that with the obnoxious cost of tuition and books, and no wonder many undergraduates were in debt for about 10 years (though this pales in comparison to the American average of 21 years).
This is the first major step in the BC government making good on their promise to make post-secondary more affordable. This change will apply to all future loans and to existing loans currently being paid into.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though. All interest accumulated prior to February 19, 2019 will remain. It could take up to three months for your statements to reflect the elimination, however it will be retroactive to February 19—meaning that though your first few payments might not change, the interest will not stack, so that additional payment will go towards paying the loan itself.
The interest elimination also only affects loans paid to the BC government, and not the federal portion of integrated student loans. This could be important information if you’re looking into applying for a student loan—make sure you know what you’re applying for! It could mean the difference between paying more or paying for exactly what you received.