Financing a Post-Secondary Education

Post-secondary education is expensive, and thinking about how you're going to pay for it can be daunting. Even when you’ve scrimped, saved and worked hard to afford it, you might still need a little help closing the gap between your income and your tuition and expenses. If you opt for one of these suggestions below, you'll be able to focus on your education and not on making ends meet.

How much should you borrow?

Calculate your expenses for the upcoming school year, including tuition, books, transportation, food and the costs of day to day living. Next, determine how much money you already have and how much you expect to earn over the course of the year (if you're working while at school). The difference between the two figures is the amount you'll need to borrow (or find) for one year. Multiply that by how many years you'll be at school. 

Also consider how you’ll pay the money back. Are the terms of the loan acceptable? Will you be able to handle the monthly payments? If not, you'll need to look for alternate ways to finance your education, or reduce your total costs.

Canada Student Loans

In most cases, these offer the best terms and unlike a loan that we give you, you won’t be expected to make payments while you’re studying and there is no interest on your loan until you graduate.

Canada Student Grants

If you are from a lower or middle-income family, you may qualify for a Canada Student Grant. This could mean as much as $250 per month of study,  up to a maximum of $3,000 per academic year.

Student line of credit

Not all students are eligible for a government loan or a grant. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. A line of credit can go a long way toward covering your expenses while in school. The terms aren’t as good as the government can offer, but they’re typically still better than other personal loans.

Student credit card

A credit card can be a lifesaver, but keep in mind that credit card interest rates are very high. A credit card should only be used for small, unexpected expenses and emergencies and don't think of your credit limit as money available for you to spend, so don't put it in your budget. Used responsibly, a credit card can improve your credit rating, making you more likely to be approved for a loan if you need it next year. 

Awards and bursaries

Spending some time researching awards and bursaries can pay back, big time. Many are available through your university or college, but others are offered by a variety of organizations and special interest groups. Some are based on grades, but criteria may be something different altogether, such as volunteerism, athletic ability, or membership in a particular group. Not only are many awards and bursaries prestigious, they do not need to be repaid.


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