Financial institutions and federal and provincial programs offer plenty of financing options for post-secondary education. The choice between different financing options depends on factors such as amount required to cover tuition, board, and other expenses, credit rating, whether the student applies with a co-applicant and others. A 4-year degree in Canada costs about $60,000 on average. Most students and parents are unable to cover the costs and many resort to student loans by banks and other establishments. College students borrow about $28,000 on average. To finance college expenses, many parents apply for a home equity loan whereby their home serves as collateral. While home equity loans offer competitive interest rates, the rate on student loans is tax-deductible. Moreover, parents put their retirement and home at risk in case of interest rate spikes. Student lines of credit are also offered by financial institutions such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, and other establishments. This is an affordable option in that the rate is lower compared to other borrowing solutions available. In some cases, parents are required to co-sign together with students. Another option is to look into consumer loans. This is a less risky solution in that customers are not required to offer some asset as collateral. At the same time, the interest rate is often higher and most banks accept applicants with stellar and very good credit.
Federal and provincial assistance programs are also available as an alternative to private lenders. Students enrolled in approved programs and universities who meet provincial residency criteria qualify. Applications are available from financial aid offices at school. If you live in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, or Ontario, however, you must apply through the Integrated Loan Program. Residents of Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and Alberta apply for a provincial government and Canada Student loan. Borrowers from Yukon submit applications under the Canada Student Loans Program. Territorial and provincial assistance is offered to students from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and applicants from Quebec. Financial assistance is available based on factors such as enrollment status, annual income, contributions by parents, and tuition expenses. There are handy online calculators that help students to calculate the amount required based on part-time and full-time status and course load. If you are a full-time student, for example, you are asked to select student category, i.e. single parent, single independent student, common law or married, etc. The next step is to fill in information such as province of residence, program type and duration, number of children, and province of study and pre-study period. Users also specify over-awards, whether they have permanent disabilities, and family size.
Government and private loans, and lines of credit are one option for students but the amount borrowed must be paid back. Another option is to apply for a grant or scholarship through your financial aid office or under provincial and federal programs. There are different types of financial assistance, including apprenticeship grants and grants for students with dependents. Apprenticeship incentive grants, for example, are offered to applicants who meet the requirements and are registered. They must be registered with an apprenticeship authority, joint training committee or union training center, training trust fund, or an employer. Only permanent residents, citizens, and protected persons qualify. Grant applicants are also asked to provide supporting documents such as copy of ID, proof of progression, and others.
Bursaries and scholarships are additional options for university and college students. Scholarships are offered by different institutes, forums, and foundations. The amount varies from $1000 to $40,000 and more. Some scholarships are available for certain fields of study only while others are offered across fields and disciplines. In general, students of different backgrounds and disciplines are welcome to apply and academic excellence is not always a requirement. Students belonging to ethnic minorities and those with different family affiliations and talents are also offered scholarships. Financial assistance is also available to students with leadership skills, high GPA, etc. Bursaries are often based on special skills and abilities, extra-curricular activities, athletic skills, or academic achievement and take financial need into account. Bursaries, grants, and scholarships are offered by associations, businesses, universities and colleges, and territorial and provincial governments. Co-operative education and internships are also available, and students get paid and gain valuable experience at the same time.