How Can I Fund My Education in Canada?

Student debt is climbing everywhere like temperatures are climbing the world over. More and more students are starting their professional lives neck-deep in worry and anxiety, parting with a chunk of their hard-earned money every month towards payment of their student loans. In the US, students owe trillions to public and private money lenders. In Canada, though things are not that bad, it’s not great either. In 2018, Canadian students owed $28 billion in student debt to all levels of government. It is depressing to be starting one’s life this way, especially after spending a great time at a college or university.

What hurts the most is you will always end up paying way more to the bank than you borrowed. But a bank’s interest rates are not in our control, however, what is in our control is the ability to plan our finances. You don’t have to be a certified financial planner to manage funds to support your studies.

With a little planning and application, you can easily fund your education in Canada. There are several ways you can go about it. Listed below are some of them:

Get a job: If you don’t already have one, getting a job is a great way to start towards saving for your education. It could be a retail position or an admin position at an office. Whatever gig you can find, if you’re smart about how you spend your money, you can save up a lot. For openings, frequent malls or shops in your area for vacancies.

Other means to save include being thrifty: cooking all your meals at home, or not buying new clothes every few days; selling off things you don’t need on Craigslist or the Facebook market place and so on.

Borrow from family/friends: If you’re surrounded by generous family and friends who have the means to support you financially, there’s no harm in borrowing money. It may be tricky or awkward initiating that conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you promise to return the money on time, getting money from people you know is far more economical. Usually, they won’t expect any interest.

Dip into your savings: Are you one of those rare people who knew from the start what you wanted to do in life and had the foresight to save whatever money you made from the time you were really young? Congratulations. This may include birthday gifts, money earned by doing chores; starting a small library and lending comic books to friends; and other means.

Also, parents of some children plan their ward’s education early by investing in stocks or mutual funds or fixed deposits that has a big payout when the child is a certain age. Others may not be as fortunate. However, there are other ways: selling assets if any; reaching into parents’ provident fund savings. It’s a good starting point to guage how much you have, how much you will need, before exploring other options.

Student Loans: The Canadian government offers different types of loans to students to help them pay for their post-secondary education. The eligibility to apply for these loans will depend on your income and assets, tuition fee and living expenses. If you’re from BC you can apply for loans earmarked for students from BC; you can apply for loans if you’re from other provinces and both part-time and full-time education.

Grants and Bursaries: Different provinces award different grants and bursaries based on financial need and other criteria. Unlike loans, you don’t need to repay the grants nor bursaries. Do some groundwork and find out what kinds of financial assistance are available to you. Ashton College, for instance, offers four bursaries to new immigrants. The bursaries cover full-time tuition (valued up to $8,000 each) for a range of Ashton College programs, including the immigration consultant diploma to diploma in human resources management to diploma in business management and others.

Scholarships: Several merit-based scholarships are also available to students based on their province. Scholarships also do not have to be repaid. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships that can be really helpful. Apply for as many as you’re eligible for. The process may be tedious as different scholarships may have different criteria, but it is something that will considerably ease the financial burden.

So there you are. These are some of the ways you can fund your education in Canada. Most of the information you will need is available online. Good luck with your applications.

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