Need money for school? Students applying to career colleges in Canada are eligible for an array of student scholarships, bursaries and loans for studies.
Scholarships and Bursaries Scholarships typically range in value from $250 - $1,000 and are awarded to outstanding new students. Bursaries may also be available to students and are more typically based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need and/or achievement in other areas such as leadership and community service. These awards may be offered by high schools, colleges, professional organizations, local businesses and national chains, and charitable foundations. Many private career colleges also have internal scholarships and bursaries. This is made possible often thanks to monetary gifts and endowments from former grads to support the school: enrolling in a career college means becoming part of the community feeling and pride associated with it.
Start your search by talking to your high school career counsellor to learn what kinds of scholarships and bursaries are available for your particular interest.
Many private career colleges offer entrance awards either directly or through benefactors and foundations that support them. You can contact an admissions advisor at the school or department itself or look on the institution's website to identify the awards that are offered. Some scholarships and bursaries are program-specific and are limited to applicants to particular diplomas or certificates, so check at every level.
Many local businesses and national chains--and don't forget your parents' employers!--will offer some kind of funding, either in the form of scholarships or bursaries. These businesses offer awards as a way of showing their support for the local community, so don't overlook this opportunity.
And don't forget community groups in your home-town that are involved in the business of supporting students (e.g., the Chamber of Commerce, Business Development Association).
Many professional organizations will provide scholarships as a way of promoting their profession and ensuring the development of future professionals.
And finally, there are a variety of charitable organizations that provide literally millions of dollars of awards to post-secondary students, from local to national.
Student Loans Student loans and grants are other types of financial aid to be considered. In Canada, there is no federal ministry for education; rather, education is governed at the provincial level. However, federal student financial aid is available across the country. Often payments do not begin until the student finishes the program, and the interest rate is commonly lower than for other types of loans. For students with no established credit record, it is usually easier to get student loans than other kinds of loans. The Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP) maintains a national list of private career colleges eligible for student assistance (schools must apply to become CSLP designated). You can obtain information on the Canada Student Loans Program from your high school career counsellor or the college's student services or financial aid department.
As well, each province has a program that offers financial assistance to students, and provincial aid may include special programs for students who are unemployed, financially disadvantaged and need training to find employment (for instance, Alberta's Skills Investment Program). Students may also be able to access EI Retraining Programs if they have been on unemployment insurance at any time during the previous three years. Provincial loans are available only to those private career colleges registered with their provincial education ministry.
In addition to government loans, some private career colleges either offer bridging loans for those waiting for their funding or have agreements with certain banks that offer special lines of credit for students.