Ways to Finance Your College Education

There are different sources of funding available to college and university undergrads and postgraduate students. You can apply for scholarships, grants, student government loans, and loans from banks and other establishments. If your parents have savings or you have money in your savings account, this can be a source of funding as well.

Student Grants in Canada

Unlike loans, grants are money that students don’t have to pay back. There are grants for part-time students, persons with disabilities, and students with dependents. If you are from a middle-income or low-income family, you can apply for a grant as well. Income eligibility depends on your family size and province or territory of residence. For example, the threshold for family of 2 persons is $29,439 in Alberta and 25,353 in Newfoundland. Students from low-income families are offered $250 a month. Thus if a student needs $5,000 and is offered a $2,000 grant, he can apply for a $3,000 loan or find another source of funding.

Government Loans

Government loans are offered to postsecondary students enrolled part- and full-time. The Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Nunavut run their own assistance programs. Loans are available to permanent residents, Canadian citizens, and protected persons. A credit check is required for students aged 22 and older. Repayment assistance is also offered to borrowers who are unable to keep up with their payments and those whose loan is in collections.

Revision of terms is a measure that modifies the terms of the loan to extend the repayment schedule or help borrowers to repay it more quickly.

Bank Student Loans

The main difference between government and bank loans is that students who apply under government programs start repaying when they leave school or graduate. They are offered a low fixed interest rate and usually do not need a cosigner. Students can apply for a subsidized loan whereby the interest is paid by the government until they graduate. With private loans, borrowers pay interest charges while in school. Financial institutions often offer variable interest rates that are higher than the rates on government assistance. Another difference is that banks usually require that borrowers have a good credit score and established record.

Private student loans are offered by different establishments, including colleges and universities, credit unions, and banks. Financial institutions such as CIBC and BMO offer loans and lines of credit to students. Another option is to apply for a student credit card. Issuers offer cards with low interest rates, discounts, no annual fees, cash back, and other perks. This is an option for students who want to build their credit history and make payments.

Financial Aid Offered by Universities

In addition to grants, students can apply for financial assistance under bursary programs. This is a type of award and funding that you don’t pay back. It is offered to students who need an additional source of funding. Permanent residents and Canadian citizens are eligible. Students in graduate, postbaccalaureate, and undergraduate programs can apply for financing. You can apply through your university. Work programs are another option for domestic and international students who are enrolled full- and part-time. Some universities also offer loans to US graduate and undergraduate students. Financing is offered under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. There are also scholarships for international and Canadian students. They are offered to students who demonstrate academic achievement. Some universities also offer bursaries and Aboriginal scholarships as well as emergency funding in the form of student loans.