Rising tuition fees and expenses have become increasingly large obstacles for students, influencing where they are able to go to school and the type of program they can take. These costs are a huge burden on top of the additional pressure of living on their own for the first time. Beyond tuition fees, students also incur a handful of other expenses such as rent, groceries, textbooks, traveling home, and public transportation. There are many financial resources available to help students manage these expenses and provide a little more flexibility regarding education options. Student loans and grants, scholarships and bursaries, part-time jobs, and student lines of credit are some of the financial support options to Canadian students at this time.
Student Loans and Grants
The Government of Canada’s Student Loans Program (CSLP) provides financial assistance to students on the basis of financial need. To determine how much you are eligible to receive, the CSLP takes into consideration factors such as family income, tuition, program length and whether you’re enrolled full- or part-time, and school-related expenses. For full-time university or college students, CSLP provides approximately 60% of assessed financial need through federal loans. You don’t have to start paying back these loans until six months after graduation and interest doesn’t accumulate during this time. For example, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OCASP) offers loans to students to help offset costs while you are in school, which do not have to be repaid until six months after graduation.
Student grants are also available through the Canada Student Grants Program, which provides financial assistance to students in need that is non-repayable. Apply for the CSLP through the province or territory you live in and you will be automatically considered for the Canada Student Grant as well.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Scholarships are based on financial need and merit, and do not have to be paid back. Individuals, companies, and charities sponsor scholarships for specific achievements, such as academic excellence, volunteer service, leadership, extracurricular involvement, or athletics. Yconic and Scholarship Canada also features several scholarship opportunities along with a matching tool to find awards that specifically target your achievements, participation records, and background. To find out more about which types of awards are available at your university and that you might qualify for, visit your school’s financial aid office.
Bursaries are offered by most universities to students who show financial need. They help offset the cost of tuition and are non-repayable after university. Locate your school’s student financial aid office to find out if you are eligible, and to submit your application.
Work-study Programs and Part-time Jobs
Many universities offer work-study programs on campus to students in financial need. These programs allow students to develop career-related skills and experience, while also helping pay off their tuition and maintain a balance with their courses. Another option is to find part-time employment off campus in an unrelated field, such as at a restaurant, store, or tour guide.
Student Line of Credit or Personal Loan
If you don’t qualify for student aid or require some additional financial assistance, consider applying for a student line of credit or a personal loan from your bank or credit union. Lines of credit are similar to receiving a loan; however, your lender provides you with access to funds instead of funds being added directly to your account.
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