The best decision one could ever make is to invest in your education. However, like any other investment, this one also comes at a price. In some cases, the expenses involved in pursuing a degree can grow so exorbitant that student loans easily become one of the main reasons why some start their adult lives in debt.
The problem has grown so severe that Global News found that Canadian students collectively owed a whopping $28 billion in student loans to all levels of government in 2018. Fortunately, there are a lot of programs out there that are specifically made for students who are dealing with certain money problems.
Here are some of them:
Typically, scholarships are provided to learners based on academic excellence, athletics, volunteer experience and specific research areas. A good number of Canadian universities offer this kind of financial aid for students, but if you want to avail this, you have to brace for the preparation you might have to undertake. Depending on the school, scholarship requirements can include an application form, an impressive GPA, and a collection of high-value awards.
There are also some scholarships that are automatically offered to eligible students, such as entrance scholarships. Some of the universities that offer entrance scholarships are Carleton University, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Alberta. Of course, they are also based on specific eligibility criteria, which often include a minimum GPA requirement and full-time school registration.
Provided to students who can’t afford post-secondary education due to a variety of financial constraints, bursaries often require students to go through a straightforward application process and an assessment of some sort to verify their finances. One of the leading organizations providing financially challenged students much-needed aid is the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation. They provide bursaries through their Learning Matters Education Charity. In recent years, they have also started giving out awards and financial rewards to exemplary students who have been continuously showcasing demonstrated focus, determination, academic excellence, and community-mindedness.
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) are state-supported accounts that are specifically created to help parents save up for their children’s’ post-secondary education. As RESPs are among the many programs initiated by the government to support students, the money accumulated through these accounts can grow tax-free. In fact, the only time they will be taxed is when the beneficiary decides to withdraw everything.
RESP funds can be invested in many different ways and are available in three different types: Individual RESPs, Family RESPs and Group RESPs. Due to the existence of the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG), students who have RESPs can also enjoy a matched contribution of $500 (up to $7,200) from the government. Aside from the CESG, families that set up RESPs for their kids can receive an additional $500 from the Canada Learning Bond upon application and $100 for each year they remain eligible.
In order to provide assistance to Canadian students studying in foreign universities and colleges, the government decided to create the Canadian Higher Education Loan Program (CanHELP). This program offers loans which are sponsored by a variety of institutions in and out of the country. These institutions include the International Education Finance Corporation, the Bank of Boston, the Education Resources Institute, Fleet Boston, and Citizens Bank.
Since students are studying overseas, CanHELP allows undergraduate learners to borrow up to the full cost of their education, including tuition, fees, and room and board. Graduate students, on the other hand, can borrow a maximum of $15,000 per year without a cosigner, or up to the cost of education with a co-signer.
Pursuing higher education can be one of the toughest and most stressful parts of one’s life. However, for those who are constantly trying to make ends meet and figure out where they can get money to pay for their tuition, the difficulty grows tenfold. Luckily there are numerous programs out there that can ease the burden.
What’s even better is that these financial aids are not only limited to students here in Canada but also to those who are studying in a foreign country, as well as international students in Canadian universities and colleges. To know more about the different benefits of studying in Canada, read our blog post on ‘Why You Should Study in Canada’.