Need money for school? Students applying to community 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 - $5,000 but may go as high as $16,000 over the course of the four-year degree. These are generally awarded to outstanding new students based on academic achievement and, in the case or fine art programs, the quality of the student's artwork. 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. Other factors such as home-province, gender and cultural background may also be factors of consideration. These awards--which can cover tuition, residence, books and other necessary gear--may be offered by high schools, colleges, professional organizations, local businesses and national chains, and charitable foundations. Community colleges may also have internal scholarships and bursaries, some of which are automatic (meaning all eligible students are automatically considered) and some of which are competitive, meaning students must apply.
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. High schools sometimes offer scholarships to students going on to study in a particular field, so find out what you need to qualify.
Many community 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 and the deadlines for applying, if necessary. Many community colleges offer program- and even major- or stream-specific awards, so be sure to look 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, Rotary Club).
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 and Grants
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. 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). So check out your provincial financial aid office and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) for possible education benefits.
In addition to government loans, some community 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. For all types of loans and grants, resources may differ for those enrolled in community college as full-time, part-time or apprenticeship students.