Canadian Students

Compared to the centralized system for financial aid in the United States, the Canadian landscape can look a little crazy and confusing. Because Canadian citizens typically support colleges and universities with a larger percentage of tax revenue than Americans, many quality Canadian schools offer tuition at substantially lower rates. At the same time, some Canadian students must still find ways to bridge the gap between their savings and their anticipated cost of attending college.

"Each one of Canada's provinces maintains its own support organizations and financial aid opportunities for citizens and permanent residents."

Students who meet specific qualifications may receive Canada Study Grants direct from the government. To earn Canada Study Grants, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • You are permanently disabled.
  • You require exceptional financial assistance.
  • You have children.
  • You are a woman, enrolled in certain doctoral studies.
The government issues Canada Study Grants in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 per school year, depending on a student's financial need and qualifying circumstances. If you fail to complete your degree program, or if you leave school early for any reason, you must repay your Canada Study Grants.

The federal government and provincial governments earmark funds each year to help Canadian students overcome financial need and attend the college or university of their choice. Bursaries are awards that do not have to be repaid by students. Bursaries are distributed by the government to needy students on the basis of academic excellence or demonstrated acts of remarkable citizenship.

Private foundations and community organizations administer smaller scholarship funds throughout Canada. Usually, these scholarships reward students who meet certain eligibility conditions, such as ethnicity, community involvement, academic achievement, or residency in a particular community.

Although provincial or territorial financial aid organizations can connect you to private scholarship foundations and competitions, you should also use relationships in your own community to uncover opportunities to earn or win extra money for college. Talk to your local bank manager, church leaders, and politicians about scholarship competitions they may have heard about in your area.

Student Loans
The Canadian government splits the burden of providing subsidized student loans with provincial aid organizations. Qualifying students receive 60% of their loan amount as a disbursement from their Canada Student Loan, with a maximum benefit of $165 per week of enrollment. The remaining loan balance is disbursed by local organizations, sometimes working in conjunction with private lenders. It is not uncommon for Canadian students to hold simultaneous student loans from multiple lenders, each of whom has contributed a small amount to cover the cost of attending college.

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