Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
In Canada students are able to receive financial assistance for distance learning courses. There are federal grants available as well as federal and provincial bursaries, scholarships, and student loans. The following is some general information about these various types of financial aid.
In order to be eligible for financial aid in Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. You must also be a resident of the province in which you are applying for assistance and you must demonstrate financial need. If you are planning to study outside of the country, you must enrol in a Canadian institution's exchange program to qualify for aid. To apply, you must contact the organization that is responsible for student aid in your province or territory. You can contact the financial aid office at the institution in which you intend to study for help with the process. The applications are also available from high schools. After the application is completed and submitted, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to find out what assistance you are eligible to receive. The advantage of the application for student aid in Canada is that it determines if you are eligible for any of the grants, bursaries or loans that are available federally or provincially for your education. You do not have to send separate applications for each of those sources of aid.
There are federal grants available. Grant money does not have to be repaid. These Canada Study Grants are offered based on one of the following conditions:
- You have a permanent disability
- You are a low or middle income family
- You have children
Various factors are considered such as where you live in Canada, how many dependents you have, and whether you are studying full time or part time. Bursaries are another type of financial aid that is available to students in need and they do not have to be repaid. Student loans can be given from more than one institution to one student. Because they are loans, they do have to be paid back when you are no longer attending school.
Work/study jobs are available at the beginning of the school year and you must have your application in early to have a chance at landing one of these jobs. They are a part of the financial aid program so the student must qualify for aid to apply for one of these jobs. Some of the jobs may be based on your career interests but not all of them are. They are jobs that are determined by the institutions so often they are assistant jobs in offices.
Scholarships are another form of assistance for students but are based on merit rather than need. There is a free scholarship service available at studentawards.com which searches for Canadian scholarships and grants that are available. You have to become a member but it is a free service. This is quite useful since there are so many different scholarships available. Students or their parents must search for scholarships themselves and apply for them separately from the financial aid programs. Many of them are awarded by educational institutions and many are granted by organizations in various fields such as corporations or associations or social service organizations in your community. Sometimes the organizations in which parents have memberships, such as unions, offer scholarships for either the members or the children of their members. A personal check for such specific scholarships along with using the above search service could be quite beneficial in the process of locating additional assistance to cover the cost of your post secondary education.
Canadian students are able to receive financial aid in the same forms as American students in the United States but the process is different and some of the requirements are different. If you need financial aid to further your education, it is certainly worth checking out all of the resources that may be available to you - scholarships, bursaries, grants, and loans. Do not assume that you must pay the whole cost of your education yourself if you are a low or middle income earner or have a family or a disability. There is usually help available.