Need Money for School – 8 Options for Canadian Students
School is getting pretty expensive these days. Without some serious financial support it can be hard to make ends meet. Student loans can help but why put yourself deep into debt if you can avoid it? So what do you do if you need money for school? Here’s a list of eight options for you to consider if you need money for school.
1. Canada Student Loans:
Student loans should be the last resort if you need money for school but the application is sometimes required for grant, scholarship and bursary applications. The benefit of Canada Student Loans is that they don’t require any repayment until 6 months after graduation. However, the interest does begin to accrue immediately once you graduate. To find out more about the interest rates on Canada Student Loans visit the CanLearn website.
Many provinces work with the federal government to jointly administer their student loan programs. To get more details on which provinces work with the government and how to apply online visit the National Student Loans Service Centre page.
There are also regular consumer loans available from financial institutions. These loans can have higher interest rates than Canada Student Loans. They also begin to accrue interest even while you’re still at school. However, financial institutions do offer more unique products like emergency loans which are available for under 90 days to students in dire need.
There are lots of grants available to students in Canada but in particular there are two grants offered by the Canadian government with the only requirement being a certain family income.
- Canada Student Grant for Students from Low-Income Families – Provides $250/month of study. Check out the income eligibility requirements.
- Canada Student Grant for Students from Middle-Income Families – Provides $100/month of study. Check out the income eligibility requirements.
If you’re under 18 then there is also the Canada Education Savings Grant which has a lifetime maximum of up to $7,200. The only requirement here is that you must make contributions to your RESP (registered education savings plan) and the government will match your contributions with this grant. The grant is a maximum of $500/year or up to $1,000 during a “catch up year”.
3. Bursaries & Scholarships:
There is absolutely no way to list all the available bursaries and scholarships, there are just too many of them. Here are some places to check for bursaries and scholarships that are available.
- Financial Aid Office – Visit the financial aid office at your school for detailed information on available bursaries and how to apply.
- StudentAwards.com – Over $100M in financial opportunities for students.
- ScholarshipsCanada.com – Currently there are over 80,000 bursaries and scholarships listed.
- Your parents employer – Sometimes employers offer scholarships or “matching programs” for post secondary education.
Make sure to check with your school for unique bursaries offered by alumni. These can often have very specific requirements and therefore the odds of getting a bursary after applying can be much greater.
4. Tuition Rebate:
Some provinces offer special incentives to their residents for attending a post secondary school within the province. In Ontario this program offers 30% off any Ontario tuition. This is money that you will never have to repay. For university/college degree students it’s up to $1780/year and for college diploma and certificate students it’s up to $820/year.
To apply you just need to complete the OSAP application and you’ll automatically be considered. Not applying for OSAP? Well you can still apply via the website. Apply by March 1st each year or sixty days before the end of your study period.
5. Part Time Work:
A part time job is the quintessential way to pay for college/university. Of course you could always find a part time job with a local business but there are also lots of jobs available on campus. These jobs are often tailored to students by providing flexible schedules and shifts.
- Teaching Assistant
- Campus Day Care
- Campus Tour Group Leader
- Administrative Staff
- Cleaning Staff
- Window Washing
- Research Assistant
If you don’t want to work on campus then try to look for a part time job that offers a lot of downtime. These jobs give you the opportunity to study and make money at the same time. Jobs like night shift security guard, convenience store clerk or gas station clerk are jobs that often have long stretches of “quite time” during which you can fit in some reading.
6. Summer Jobs:
Finding a summer job is a great way to make money if you need money for school. Here are a couple of ways to find a summer job that pays well.
Try getting a summer job at your college/university. Schools usually offer student positions during the summer. These positions are often well paid. One requirement might be that you’re eligible for student loans so make sure to apply beforehand.
Look for a summer job with a local business. These jobs provide money for school plus valuable work experience. The best way to find a summer job is to leverage your network. Ask family and friends about potential summer jobs. Most positions are never advertised so start to inquire with your network well before the summer begins. Don’t have a network? Start building one now!
Don’t forget to use the Canada Summer Jobs Program to your advantage. This program provides businesses with a rebate on your hourly wages. Here are the details from the Service Canada website:
Canada Summer Jobs:
- Provides work experiences for students
- Supports organizations, including those that provide important community services; and
- Recognizes that local circumstances, community needs and priorities vary widely
- Public and private-sector employers are eligible for up to 50% of the provincial/territorial adult minimum hourly wage.
This program could provide a good incentive for a business to hire a summer student when they might not have considered it before.
Many schools offer an internship program for their students. Although doing an internship delays graduation by a year it provides many benefits as well. These programs are usually 12-16 months in length. An internship is a great way to make money for school. It also provides valuable work experience and networking opportunities that can help you find a job faster once you graduate.
Enquire with your program coordinator about internship programs or the possibility of taking a year off of school to work (remember to tell your student loan provider that you’re coming back to school, otherwise interest may begin to accrue)
8. Start A Small Business:
One of the best times to start a small business is during university/college. There are many types of small businesses that require some effort and persistence but very little in terms of start up costs. Starting a small business not only provides the opportunity to make some good income but also provides a more flexible schedule. Here are a few small business ideas you should consider starting as a student:
- Landscaper – This includes summer work like cutting grass, weeding, pruning but also snow removal in winter and raking leaves in the fall.
- Dog Walker – Having a flexible schedule makes this one easy to do. Advertise at the local dog park, community center and library.
- Blogger/Website Owner – Earn money with Adsense, Affiliate Sales or Sponsored Posts
- Small Business Website Developer – Use WordPress to quickly build websites for local businesses.
- Baker/Candy Maker – Cottage food laws make this easier to do. Sell at local farmer markets.
- Make & Sell Arts or Crafts – If you’re a gifted artisan then try selling your creations at local art & craft fairs or online with Etsy (Wood working is a hobby of mine so I did this during university, the money was good and I could do it on my own schedule)
- Sell Stuff Like Bottled Water/Glow Sticks/Ice Cream – Inventory is easy to buy. Selling it is easy too if you find the right venue/location.
- Painting – Painting interiors or exteriors of houses is a great small business for students.
- Tutor – Tutoring is a great way to earn money while in school. Having recently graduated you can easily relate to the students you’re tutoring. Rates vary but start at $15-25/hr. Have a high score on the MCAT, GMAT or LSAT? Your tutoring rates could triple to $75/hr.
By starting a small business you might also qualify for the Summer Company Program or other grants. The Summer Company Program offers $3,000 in grants to eligible students to start a small business. The program also offers mentorship from local business owners.
What Would You Do If You Need Money For School?
Hopefully these ideas have given you some options if you need money for school. Do you have any other ideas? What have you done to pay for school? Please share in the comments below so others can benefit too!
If you need more ideas to get money quickly then visit my “I need money now” page.
Photo by dydcheung via Flickr