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5 Ways Women Can Get Relief from Student Debt

Whether you’re in school or already graduated, student debt can weigh heavy on other areas of life. Balancing debt relief with big life events — like starting a career, moving out of your parents’ home and buying a car — can be challenging, if not impossible.

These issues are even more relevant for young women. Statistics Canada data shows that the majority of federal student loan recipients and users of the government’s Repayment Assistance Program are women. Even when women are earning an income after graduation, there’s still a gender wage gap — Stats Can also shows that women are, on average, paid less than men with the same qualifications.

This makes it more important than ever for women to find relief from student debt. Here are five strategies young women can use to help them pay off their student debt.

  1. Get help from FCAC resources. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is a great starting point for learning what you need to know to pay off student debt. This page advises how to make a plan, how to set a repayment schedule and what to do if you’re having trouble making payments, which includes seeking out provincial forgiveness. 
  2. Student debt forgiveness in Ontario. As outlined in this post by financial writer Jordann Brown on My Alternate Life, Ontario has several bursaries and grants available to students who are still in school and using loans. If you’re out of school and already taking advantage of the Canada Repayment Assistance Plan (which Jordann also talks about), finding another source of income can help. 
  3. Try out a side hustle. It’s been coined the “gig economy”, and in a tech-forward city like Toronto, there’s plenty of work available to young people who are looking for part-time employment on a flexible schedule. This Huffington Post article talks about how to take advantage of your passions for extra income, which can be used for student debt relief. 
  4. Make an action plan on a large scale. Sometimes, motivation is the best medicine when dealing with student debt. In this podcast from financial writer Jessica Moorhouse, she talks to a friend who managed to pay off a $35,000 student loan while pursuing a career in the arts. This is one that can spark your creativity. 
  5. When can a formal debt solution help? While it’s not possible to eliminate student loan debt through a consumer proposal or bankruptcy right after graduation, either of these debt relief options are only available if you’ve been out of school for seven years or more. 

    If you choose to file a consumer proposal, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) would negotiate with your creditors, including the government and other loan providers, to reduce your total debt owing. You would then make a monthly payment over a period of three to five years in order to pay off the rest of the debt.


Have a tip for getting relief from student debt? Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #LeaveDebtBehind, #Students and #BalanceForBetter.

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