Financing Your Education
There are more options to pay for your education than you think. Your Financial Advisor at Stenberg College will show you how.
Student Loans – Your home province administers both your provincial and Canada student loan. While you are a full-time student, you are not required to pay interest. You can devote yourself to your education instead. The program is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents only. For more information, visit the Ministry of Advanced Education (http://www.studentaidbc.ca/), BC's financial aid division.
Employment Insurance – You may be able to apply for funding through Human Resources Development Canada.
A Line of Credit from a Local Bank or Credit Union – Many banks, such as Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank and TD Canada Trust, offer a student line of credit. Check with the loans department at your bank or credit union to see if you qualify.
Awards and Bursaries – Winning academic awards always looks great on the resume. The downside is that the awards can be competitive, and you will spend significant time and energy filling out forms and applications on top of everything else you have to do. Still, there are many awards that lack applicants every year. Check for awards that have unusual criteria that will decrease the applicant pool. For example, your parents may belong to a professional organization or a union that runs a special bursary fund.
Employer Pays – This is one of the best ways to finance your education. You gain experience while working in the field. You finish with an education and experience and no debts and you have a career to boot. Does it get any better than that? The one problem is that you may be burning the candle at both ends and won't have much of a life outside of studying and working. The other catch is that you usually have to be in the profession already and be someone that the firm wants to make a long-term investment. In other words, it is a difficult position to find yourself in. But if you are networking and calling up people in the field you hope to join, these opportunities may arise.
Save – If you can manage to save for your education on your own, you will minimize or eliminate the burden of debt. The difficulty is that you may be saving for a long time before you can go to college. The more you work in your chosen profession, the more experience you get and the greater chance you have for advancement. Also, the longer you spend at earning a higher wage, the faster you will attain other financial and lifestyle goals. This is very important to remember if you are taking the education so that you can improve your earning ability.
Borrowing from Personal RRSP – You can borrow from your RRSP to help pay for your education tax free (http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/goc/llp.shtml).
Borrowing from Friends or Family – If you can make an arrangement with friends or family, it is a good way to go. The interest rate should be better and payment terms will be more flexible. The downside is that it may place stress on your personal relationships.