There are three main categories of financial aid available for Christian universities and colleges in Canada: scholarships, bursaries and loans. Scholarships typically range in value from $250 - $5,000, may be renewable and are based on outstanding academic achievement, or a combination of outstanding academic achievement and leadership qualities. Bursaries, however, are based on financial need. Student loans and grants and commercial bank loans may also be available, but need to eventually be repaid. Work-study programs involving financial aid for full-time students through part-time work on campus is another source of money for school.
Each of the above financial aid categories can come from internal or external sources. These awards may be offered internally by the university or college, or they may be external, i.e. from high schools, local businesses and national chains, or charitable foundations.
Christian universities and colleges receive gifts and donations from benefactors, which allow the schools to offer internal scholarships, bursaries and even individual loans. Entrance scholarships--for high school students or students from other post-secondary institutions--may be designated as either specifically for new students, transfer students or specific cultural groups. Other awards may be available for specific programs or interests (such as athletics, leadership) or based on Christian life and service (for example church service merit awards or church matching grants). In some cases, no application is required as you are automatically considered when you apply to a given institution; others must be applied for and have requirements such as a student essay and specific application deadlines. Online application forms may be available on a school's website. Each Christian university and college generally develops its own guidelines for eligibility and award amounts, so you should consult the guidelines for each scholarship, bursary or loan in order to understand the eligibility criteria. These awards are not cash handouts: rather, they are applied to your account towards the cost of tuition.
If the Christian university or college is recognized as a designated educational institution under the Canada Student Loan program, then applicants are eligible for government student loans. Often payments do not begin until you finish your program, and the interest rate on the program 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. You can obtain information on the Canada Student Loans Program from your high school career counsellor or the university's or college's student services or financial aid department. As well, each province has a program that offers financial assistance to students. If you intend to use the student loan program, you should start the process early. Applications for federal or provincial loans should be made directly to the designated governmental department or ministry. The Canadian Government also provides both merit-based scholarships and need-based bursaries to individuals and students who are members of specific groups (for example, Aboriginals or members of the Canadian Forces). All provinces encourage students to apply on the Internet, but application forms are usually also available at your high school counsellor's office.
Researching Scholarships, Bursaries and Loans: