Finance, Personal

What is Canada GSL Deposit in Your Account?

The payment descriptions of some government programs usually throw new recipients into confusion. 

Instead of stating the full reason for the payment, the descriptions often contain unclear abbreviations probably due to insufficient space. 

One of such government programs with abbreviated payment descriptions is Canada GSL which sometimes appears as Canada GSL ETU.

If you’ve just received payment in your bank account with the description “Canada GSL”, you shouldn’t panic.

This article discusses everything you need to know about the Canada GSL deposit including the eligibility, payment amount and other related deposits.

Canada GSL Deposit
Photo Credit: Mira Klein

What is the Canada GSL?

Canada GSL is a bank description for the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (CSFA Program).

This program provides grants and loans to help reduce the cost of post-secondary education for low-mid income families in Canada.

Students with dependents and permanent disabilities can also be eligible for the Canada GSL deposit.

The deposit is administered by Canada Revenue Agency on behalf of the federal and provincial/territorial governments. 

Depending on your province/territory of residence and situation, you can be eligible for multiple government grants under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.

How Does Canada GSL Work?

Canada GSL works as a joint student aid sponsored by the federal and provincial/territorial governments and administered by the CRA. 

To receive the GSL deposit, interested individuals are expected to apply for the federal and provincial/territorial student aids they qualify for. 

It’s worth noting that the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program is not available in all the provinces and territories of Canada. The following province and territories don’t offer the GSL deposit: 

If you reside in any of the above province/territories, kindly visit the attached link to apply for the available student aid.

Who is Eligible for Canada GSL Deposit?

Eligibility for the GSL deposit depends on the provincial/territorial aid you’re applying for.  Nevertheless, below are the general eligibility for the program: 

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • Enrolled in an eligible educational program
  • Live in a province/territory that supports  GSL
  • Demonstrate financial need

How Much is the GSL Deposit?

The GSL deposit amount varies from one recipient to the other. This is because the deposit depends on the following factors: 

  • Province/territory of residence
  • Family size and income 
  • Health status
  • Tuition fees 
  • Living expenses

However, the following are the maximum annual amount of the federal government grants for the 2022/2023 school year:

Grant forMaximum annual amount
Part-time students$6,000
Part-time students with dependants$3,200
Full-time students$6,000
Full-time students with dependants$3,200
Students with disabilities$4,000
Students with disabilities (for services and equipment)$20,000

To ensure you keep receiving the grant and loan you deserved, you should inform your provincial or territorial student assistance office of any financial changes in your situation before or while schooling.

To get an estimate of the federal GSL deposit you can receive, use the federal student aid estimator. Your entitled provincial/territorial deposit will be determined during the application process.

How Long Can You Receive Canada GSL?

The duration of the GSL deposit depends on your study type and health status. The following are the maximum lifetime limit for full-time students, doctoral students and students with permanent disabilities:

  • 340 weeks maximum for full-time students
  • 400 weeks maximum for doctoral students
  • 520 weeks maximum for students with permanent disabilities 

Once you exceed your lifetime limit, you will be required to start paying interest on the loan part of the deposit. 

And after six months of your graduation, you will be required to start paying back the loan unless you’re currently serving as a reservist in the Canadian Forces. 

To save cost from interest payments, you should pay off the loan as soon as you can without waiting for 6-month after graduation. 

That being said, you’re not required to return the grant part of the GSL deposit. 

What If I Can’t Repay the GSL Deposit?

There are two major things you can do if you can’t repay the loan part of the GSL deposit as when due. The first is to negotiate your monthly payment and the second is to seek repayment assistance.

Chances you can’t meet up the minimum payment amount due to insufficient cash flow. That’s when it’s perfect to negotiate your monthly payment to suit your current affordability.

But if negotiation is out of your option, you should seek repayment assistance from your province or territory of residence. 

Alternatively, you can contact the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) to help you provide a tailored repayment plan that suits your situation. 

It’s in your best interest to ensure that you didn’t miss your student loan payment deliberately. Doing so can easily impact your credit score, spoiling your image before lenders. 

How to Apply for GSL Deposit

Do you live in a province/territory that supports GSL deposits? You can apply for the deposit through your province or territory’s student aid service.

All you need is to visit your student aid service website, find out your eligibility, know how much you could receive, and initiate the application process.  

The following are the provinces and territories that support the GSL deposits with links to their student aid websites. 

Upon applying, your province/territory student aid centre will notify you about the next steps. 

Finally, you and your school need to confirm your enrollment in the student aid program before you can start receiving the GSL deposit. You can confirm your enrollment through your NSLSC account.

Note: Part-time students in Yukon, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador can apply for the GSL deposit through Canada Post by filing this form.

Additional Student Aids in Canada

Both the federal and provincial/territorial governments of Canada are dedicated to offsetting the increasing cost of postsecondary education in the country for low-mid income families.

So if you receive the GSL deposit, you will likely be eligible for other student aids administered by the federal and provincial/territorial governments.

The following are six student aids you may also be eligible for as a recipient of the GSL deposit: 

1. Canada Apprentice Loan 

The Canada Apprentice Loan is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency on behalf of the federal government of Canada. The program seeks to help individuals to complete a designated Red Seal trade apprenticeship.

With this program, you can receive an interest-free loan of up to $4,000 on every technical training period. 

The interesting part is that you can use the interest-free loan the way you like. Whether you’re looking to pay your tuition fees, living expenses, training tools and equipment, or help your family – the interest-free loan is there to use.

That said, the loan repayment will be due and interest will only start accumulating on the loan when you leave or complete an apprenticeship training program. 

With the exception of Quebec which has an alternative program, the Canada Apprentice Loan is available in every province/territory in Canada. 

2. Scholarships

Are you looking for a scholarship for your undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral studies? There are many options to consider depending on your eligibility. 

Below are some of the post-secondary scholarships in Canada with varying eligibility and benefits: 

  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships
  • Dick Martin Scholarship Award
  • H.L. Holmes Award for Post-Doctoral Studies
  • Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool
  • International Development Research Centre
  • International Scholarships Program
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada
  • Natural sciences and engineering awards
  • Royal Military College Scholarships and Awards
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Click here to learn more about each of the above scholarships. 

3. Financial Assistance for Protected Persons

You may be eligible for this program if you live outside Canada and are currently under fear of persecution in your home country due to your:

  • Religion
  • Race
  • Social group membership  
  • Political opinion
  • Nationality

Once you fall under any of the above conditions, you may be designated as a protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

As a designated protected person, you will access similar grants and loans on designated educational institutions as those by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Click here to learn more about the Financial Assistance for Protected Persons program.

4. Athlete Assistance Program (AAP

This program seeks to support Canadian students and workers that combine studies/work with sports. 

Specifically, the program offers financial relief for the preparation and participation of eligible Canadians in international sports. 

If you live and train in Canada, you can be eligible for the Athlete Assistance Program. However, there are exceptions for those approved by Sport Canada and the National Sport Organization (NSO).

Click here to learn more about the Athlete Assistance Program (AAP).

5. Financial Assistance for Reservists

Full-time post-secondary students that are currently serving as reservists are not expected to pay interest or the loan part of GSL deposits even after their 6 months of graduation. 

However, some provinces or territories may require post-secondary students that are currently serving as reservists to repay their loans even while serving.

Click here to learn more about Financial Assistance for Reservists.

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The Canada GSL deposit in your bank account is not a mistake. It’s your entitled benefit under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.

But if you’re not enrolled in the GSL program, you need to notify the CRA immediately about the payment. By doing so, you will avoid putting yourself into trouble by claiming money that doesn’t belong to you. 

As shown above, there are other related programs you may be eligible for if you’re a recipient of a Canada GSL deposit. Maximizing your government benefits will help improve your cash flow amidst a highly inflated economy.

Hopefully, I have answered all your questions about the GSL deposit. But if you need more clarification, don’t hesitate to drop your concerns in the comment section or contact our team at [email protected]

FAQs on Canada GSL Deposit 

Is the Canada GSL deposit taxable?

The short answer is no! The GSL deposit is tax-free both on the grant and loan aspects. This means that you don’t need to report the deposit as income when filing your annual tax return.

Is Canada GSL a loan or grant?

Canada GSL consists of both a loan and a grant. The grant part is completely free as the recipient is not expected to repay it. On the other hand, the loan part must be repaid with interest when the recipient graduates from a post-secondary school.

Do you pay back Canada student grants?

No! You’re not expected to pay back Canada student grants under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (CSFA Program). The grant is completely free, interest-free and tax-free for your post-secondary education.

But if you received more grants than you’re eligible for, or you were paid by mistake, you may be required to repay the grant.  

Is OSAP considered a Canada Student Loan?

Yes. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is the provincial program of Ontario under which grants and loans are paid to eligible students.

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is administered jointly with federal government grants and loans under the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.

So if you are an Ontario resident and you receive a Canada GSL deposit, it implies both OSAP and the federal government grants and loans. 

What is the maximum amount of student loans you can get in Canada?

The maximum student loans you can get in Canada depends on your province/territory of residence, family size and income, health status, tuition fees and living expenses.

How long does it take to get a student loan in Canada?

It can take up to 14 business days or weeks to receive the loan once it has been sent for processing. Kindly set up a direct deposit to ensure you receive quick payment.

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About John Adebisi

John Adebisi is a CPA, FCCA and MBA holder with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting & Finance. He has over a decade of experience in writing personal and business finance content for audiences across North America, Europe, the UK and Africa. In addition to his writing experience, he also has a strong background in financial research and analysis, giving him a unique perspective of the financial markets. John derives pleasure in helping people make smart financial decisions, and he believes that knowledge and experience can be valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn how to manage their money.

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