How to pay for university and cover extra costs

#Exploring your options

Tuition fees and student debt continue to rise each year leaving students fearful of their bank accounts with little to no savings accumulating throughout school and after graduation. While government loan programs are popular ways for students to fund their education, those loans can quickly become a stressor for recent graduates who need to start repaying what may be a hefty sum.


Luckily, resources are available to help fund post-secondary education, like bursaries and scholarships.

What’s the difference between a bursary and a scholarship?

Whether you qualify for a bursary or a scholarship, every little bit helps to pay your tuition. A bursary is given based on a student’s financial need. When applying for a bursary, which is typically done through your university or college’s financial aid office, be ready to show why you need assistance. You – and your parents − may be asked for your income statements.

On the other hand, a scholarship is based on academic merit or excellence in athletics.

In both cases, you may need to maintain a certain grade level. If all terms are met, you won’t have to pay back the funds given through a bursary or a scholarship.


Where you can start

  1. Check in with the financial aid office at your school
    • If you’re a high school student planning on starting a post-secondary program in the fall, it’s worth booking some time with your guidance counsellor to learn about scholarships and bursaries.
  2. Check in with your employer for scholarships
    • If you, a parent or guardian works at a large company, scholarships or bursaries may be available for students.
  3. Reach out to your community
    • Organizations around your community like athletic clubs, rotary clubs or churches have scholarships for active members.
  4. Apply for a government grant
    • If you’re eligible for financial assistance, you can apply for the Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students. You could receive up to $3,0001 per school year, every year of your undergraduate studies.


Whether you qualify for a bursary or a scholarship, every little bit helps to pay your tuition.
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Choosing to enroll in a post-secondary program is a big decision. Don’t let the financial stress deter you from continuing your education. It’s never too early to start taking advantage of the resources available to you and to learn how to avoid a few common money mistakes going forward.



The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.


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