June 1, 2020 | Alberta
Getting a post-secondary education is an investment in your future. With a diploma, certificate or other credential, you can develop new skills, pursue your passion, and earn more money.
As you’ve experienced yourself, or heard from friends and family, the cost of a quality education adds up quickly. There are hundreds of thousands of students enrolled at Canadian institutions each year. If we could peek into their personal finances, we’d see many simply don’t have the funds in their bank accounts to cover all of the costs of post-secondary studies. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to build a better life for themselves, and it doesn’t need to stop you.
If you’re worried about how you’ll finance your education, your next step should be to learn as much as you can about the options. In fact, you might be surprised to discover the diversity of programs and supports offered by the government, banks and other organizations to help you make it happen.
Of course, your financial situation is unique, so it’s important to get fully informed about what’s out there. That way, when you’re ready to start (or re-start) your educational journey, you can confidently make the financial decisions that are best for you. To give you a better understanding of what’s available to you, here’s a quick summary of the top financial aid options for students in Canada.
Government Loans and Grants
These options are available for both full- and part-time students. With the Canada Student Loan Program, you don’t need to pay back the loan or interest until after you graduate. With the Canada Student Grant Program, there’s no requirement to repay the funds. You might also be eligible for financial assistance from the province or territory in which you live, including loans and grants.
Bursaries and Scholarships
Government, schools, non-profits, philanthropists, and other sources provide many financial awards to recognize achievement such as high academic performance or athletic talent. You won’t have to repay this type of support, but you will probably have to demonstrate you’re worthy of it by getting high grades or serving society.
Student Lines of Credit
Banks offer this financial product to help students pay for tuition, books, food, and other school expenses. You’re given a maximum credit limit and can borrow any amount you need up to that limit. Unlike a typical loan, you only have to pay back, and pay interest on, the amount you actually borrowed from the total line of credit.
Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
If you have an RRSP, you can take money out, without paying tax, to cover full-time education. The funds can also be used for your spouse or common-law partner. The amount you can withdraw is limited and there are requirements around when and how it’s repaid to the RRSP.
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
An RESP is a longer-term investment tool that can help you grow your contributions tax-free until the time comes to start paying for school. If no one has named you as a beneficiary of an RESP they started, you could start one yourself. RESPs are where the federal government deposits funds from the Canada Education Savings Grant, which is available to Canadian children.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is providing this financial support to post-secondary students and recent grads who can’t find employment. Available from May to August, the basic amount is $1,250 every four weeks, $2,000 for those with dependants. It is not available to those who’ve qualified for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
This is just a basic rundown of the most-common options for students, so it makes sense that you might have questions or want to get more details. We’d be happy to help with that. CDI College’s admissions representatives and financial representatives can get you all of the information you need. To get started, fill out the REQUEST INFO form.