Starting college or university is an egg-citing moment in a young person’s life!
New students can look forward to gorgeous campus grounds with access to state of the art technology, classrooms and fitness centers, new restaurants and local pubs to try out; and of course, the wonderful opportunity to receive world-class education from a variety of available programs.
While the possibility of attending university or college is exciting, the costs associated with getting an education can take a toll on your wallet, especially considering rising tuition costs. Tuition varies depending on the institution and province , but the average full-time Canadian undergraduate student paid $6,191 in tuition fees in 2015/2016 compared to $5,998 the previous year, according to Statistics Canada. In addition to tuition, accommodation costs, living expenses, books and materials all add up, making post-secondary education very expensive.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the expenses associated with attaining a higher education, particularly for new students who don’t know what to expect. But fear not – there are many financing options that can help you pay for school, some of which you may not even be aware of!
1. Student Loans – Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP)
Both the federal and provincial governments offer different types of loans to eligible full and part-time students. While the deadlines and payment schedules may vary depending on where you live, such loans eventually must be paid back once you graduate.
Canada student loans are need-based, which means that factors such as your income level and whether or not you live at home are taken into account. The benefit to student loans is that if you do qualify, interest rates are lower than a line of credit or credit card, and debt-reduction initiatives and interest-free grace periods are worked into the terms of the loan.
To learn more about Canada Student Loans and how to apply click here.
2. Student Grants – Canada Student Grants
Unlike loans, Canada Student Grants provide money for college and university that you don’t have to pay back. They are available to students in most provinces and territories, and are dispensed at the beginning and in the middle of the school year.
The federal government hands out up to 245,000 grants every academic year which are geared towards low and middle-income students, those with permanent disabilities or dependents, and students pursuing part-time programs. When you apply for financial assistance, your eligibility for most Canada Student Grants will automatically be assessed and you may be able to receive more than one form of financial support.
To learn more about Canada Student Grants and if you are eligible click here.
3. Scholarships and Bursaries
Scholarships and bursaries are also sources of money that you do not have to pay back. A scholarship is merit-based and is given to students based on an achievement, such as academic or athletic excellence. Bursaries may also take merit into consideration, but they are primarily given to students based on financial need and require an application to prove that you would have trouble paying for school on your own.
Many corporations offer scholarships to the children of employees, so ask your parents to find out whether or not that’s a possibility. Furthermore, colleges and universities provide funding in the form of automatic entrance scholarships to students who attain a certain average, and other school-specific awards based on community involvement and extracurricular activities. If your parents or grandparents served in the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be eligible for funding offered through this organization. Similarly, cultural or community groups and clubs often give out scholarships each year; even if they’re modest, a few smaller awards can add up to a lot!
There are plenty of opportunities to receive a scholarship or bursary; you just have to be aware of those that are available to you. Visit the website of the college or university you will be attending to get more information on funding you may qualify for.
4. Work-Study Programs
A Work-Study program offers student jobs through a university or college. These positions are available to students with demonstrated financial need. Work-Study programs give students the opportunity to work on campus during the academic year to earn money for education-related costs.
Each post-secondary institution may have specific eligibility requirements when it comes to applying for a work-study. Some may require you to re-apply every semester, while others may be available to students who are not currently in an academic term. If you are interested in a work-study position, it is important that you reach out to your school of choice to learn more about the programs they may offer.
5. Student/Education Bank Loans
Most Canadian banks offer a student line of credit – a personal loan that helps students to pay for their post-secondary tuition and student expenses when needed. Depending on which bank you receive a line of credit from, you may require a co-signer and proof of enrollment every year in order to have access to funds.
When you have a student line of credit, you usually have to pay monthly interest on the balance while you’re still in school. Also, these typically have a variable rate, meaning your interest amount could increase over time. When you graduate, you are required to make monthly payments, which include a portion of the principal loan in addition to the interest until it is paid back in full. However, some banks may give you a grace period after you graduate.
There are many financing options for post-secondary education. You just have to do a bit of research and find out what the best option is for you. Hopefully, the above will help give you a head start!