I also have some loan advice for a poster above. First you should realize that for a professional student line of credit (LoC), you do not pay interest on any money available that is not used. It's like a credit card, so you only pay interest of money you withdraw. Generally the strategy is to apply for government student loans first, and then apply for the LoC at a bank of your choice. Because the government loans take a while to be processed, you will have your loc available to you before you even know how much the government is loaning you.
You will want to spend your government loans first each year, and then dip into your loc as necessary. The government loans allow you to not pay interest while in school and also does not make you pay back the full amount. So when entering law school, you will have between 10-20k per year of government funding and an 80-100k LoC. Since you will need the government money for tuition and the loc for living expenses, you don't want to find yourself short. Better to get access to as many funds as you can, and just spend what you need.
As far as bank recommendations, I had a good experience with Scotiabank. I managed to get a prime + 0.5 100k loc that doesn't convert into a higher interest rate personal loan after school.
I got my loc at the scotiabank in Calgary. What you want to do is call them as set up a meeting with a small business loans person. They are almost always the ones who also do the professional student line of credits. If you don't like the person or you don't think they are giving you the best deal (they have some discretion on the rates), just get a new advisor.
As someone who is currently working at a bank and most effectively trying to secure funds for law school that provides me the lowest borrowing cost and overall debt, I would like to point out that Kdodgeball's advice and observations are spot on. With the understanding that there are a lot of us who will require funding for OSAP and beyond, I will elaborate further to provide some foundational understanding of the system in an effort to provide others with some ground for bargaining.
Right now interest rates for mortgages, HELOC's (Home Equity Lines of Credit), professional student loans and other credit lines, are between prime and prime + 1. Prime currently sits at 3%. Law students currently will be offered a rate of prime + 1. For you to receive a rate of prime + 0.5 or lower the financial adviser or financial services rep will have to sacrifice some sales revenue. Some will do this for you SO TRY. Sales revenue earned by a financial adviser is like profit earned over cost by a car sales person for the sale of a car. The more over cost or the more over the standard interest rate you make the sale for, the more points or "sales revenue" one will earn and in turn more opportunities and bonuses he/she is faced with at the bank. Unlike car lots, however, banks have ethical restrictions on interest rates. Interest rates on services like credit cards and over draft protection are on average much higher, floating around and above 20%. So do not use overdraft credit on your bank account, who's interest rate is at roughly 22%, when you are a law student who can be approved for a line of credit that is between 3 and 4 percent. Same applies to cash advances on your credit card: as a professional student, avoid them.
TD is currently offering a professional student line of credit for prime + 1 for up to $50,000. Joint JD and MBA has an interest rate of prime + 0.5.
Scotiabank is offering prime + 1 as well; however, the amount of funds they offer is double: $100,000.
OSAP for someone without a dependent is maxed at $360 per week of study or $12,800 per study year. The calculation for the amount OSAP will offer you is based on investments you hold, debt, whether you have someone, such as a parent, providing for you, etc.Some of it will be calculated as a grant (BONUS). OSAP for someone who is providing for a dependent is capped at just over $500 per study week.
Kdodgeball is correct in regards to the stratagem undertaken to secure finances, assuming one logically would like to save money. Start with applying for OSAP (or your provincial government student assistance program) because it takes quite some time for the process to be completed. The professional student line of credit will only take one trip and at most ten business days to be available to you, assuming you bring in all the relevant documentation such as ID, proof of enrollment, information on all current liabilities and assets.
Exhaust OSAP before a line of credit because the line of credit accrues interest immediately and is compounded monthly based on the annual interest rate you agreed on. Compounded monthly meaning interest is added to the amount owing on your line of credit monthly and in turn increasing the interest owed. So an interest rate of prime will garner your line of credit with .25% of interest every month.OSAP does not start tacking on interest until after you graduate and if you do not secure a paying job you can apply for repayment assistance which will cover all the interest until you are working and no longer eligible for repayment assistance. The line of credit does not have to be used, as was previously mentioned. Even if you do not think you will dip into it, secure one anyways (unless you are irrational regarding your finances and tempted to spend it). If it does not get used, it just sits there for a just in case scenario.
Edited by mario_c, 23 May 2013 - 08:15 AM.