Post-secondary education can open many doors, with everyday people being able to work hard and enter a field that holds their passion and sets them up for a lifelong career. However, post-secondary education fees can be expensive, and some people feel that further education outside of secondary schooling is out of their reach.
While it’s true that some study fields are expensive, money doesn’t have to be a barrier preventing you from setting yourself up for future success. Here are some of the most effective ways to pay for post-secondary education in Canada.
A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is an investment type in Canada designed purely to help save for post-secondary education. Providers like CST Savings can help you set up a savings plan for your child, and you can immediately start contributing money that accumulates for various post-secondary learning options like universities, trade schools, technical schools, and religious schools.
RESPs also offers access to government grants, and you don’t have to pay any tax on your RESP investment earnings, while in plan. When your child is ready to enroll in post-secondary education, you can have a significant sum of money to put toward tuition fees and school supplies.
While you might establish a RESP to finance post-secondary education in the future, you might also look at other ways to decrease your costs, such as scholarships. Many educational facilities offer undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral scholarships to ease the burden of furthering your education.
There is a range of options available, such as Canada graduate scholarships for master’s and doctoral programs and Aboriginal bursaries and scholarships for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students. Scholarships can sometimes cover all costs associated with your tuition, or they might cover a portion of them.
Loans and Grants
The Government of Canada actively encourages secondary students to consider further education by offering grants and loans to both full-time and part-time students through the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program. You will need to pay back loans upon finishing your post-secondary education, but grant money is yours to keep once your application has been successful.
Depending on where you live and your eligibility, you might also be eligible for more than one grant type, which can provide much-needed peace of mind if you’ve been worried about how you’ll cover tuition fees and accommodation. The Government of Canada works with nearly all provincial and territorial governments to offer a variety of grants and loans, so you’ll simply need to apply for those available in your province or territory and wait to hear the outcome of your application.
There can be many costs associated with post-secondary education, above and beyond tuition. You also have to pay for stationery supplies, accommodation, and food. You can cover many of these costs with a RESP, but you might like to bolster your long-term savings scheme with a bank account you can contribute to over a set period. There is potential to earn 2-4% interest on the money you save, which might amount to a significant sum of money over several years.
Rely On Family
As uncomfortable as it can be asking loved ones for help, it can sometimes be necessary if you’re having trouble covering your everyday costs associated with post-secondary education. Your family might be happy to offer financial support to ensure you can pursue your dream career, or they might help ease your burdens by providing free accommodation, meals, travel, or supporting you in another way.
Your family likely wants you to succeed just as much as you do, so don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns with them and see if it’s within their power to support you on your new educational journey.
A Part-Time Job
Many college students prefer not to work while studying, especially as it can cut into important study time. However, it can sometimes be necessary when you want to reduce your debt levels and have spending money for leisure activities.
You might decide to apply for part-time night work, such as in bars and restaurants, or take on casual work performing jobs like house sitting, pet sitting, and dog walking. Some students also use their spring and summer breaks to work full-time, saving the money they make to cover their costs when they return to education.
If you have digital skills, you might also consider online work, such as virtual assistant roles or creative freelancing. This work can be performed on your own timeline, which means your study doesn’t always have to be affected. Flexibility can be important when it comes to choosing a part-time job, but you might be surprised by how many options there are that allow you to prioritize study but still make enough money to get by.
Financing post-secondary education in Canada is a significant concern for many families, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take advantage of a RESP, look for scholarships, work, and start a savings account, you might be confident enrolling in your post-secondary program of choice without the concerns associated with how you’ll fund it.