Government Financial Aid: Do’s and Don’ts
These days, getting an education can be very expensive. Tuition can cost thousands of dollars, and living expenses are often also very high. Unless students come from very wealthy families, they are likely to need financial help to go to university or college. Government financial aid can keep them in school, but students need to know what to do with the money they receive.
Money from government financial aid comes in different forms, and it’s important to know the difference. Scholarships are normally tied to levels of achievement in school, such as receiving high grades in science or math. Bursaries are usually for financial need, and grants are for any other kind of need, such as a disability that affects a student’s work. For example, a student with vision problems might need to buy special equipment to see a computer screen.
Normally, bursaries, scholarships, and grants are not tied to any financial repayment. Good marks are important for scholarships and a need of some kind is important for many bursaries and grants, but the money is basically free.
Still, students need to make sure not to take advantage of the system. For example, a student who receives a bursary based on a temporary situation like an injury should not keep on receiving it when the need is gone. Scholarship students need to work hard to keep up their marks, and other students might need to stay in the same field of study for a certain amount of time.
Student loans are somewhat different from bursaries, grants, and scholarships. They have to be repaid, usually starting six months after the student has graduated. Interest rates on student loans can be very high, and it is important for students to try to pay as much as they can as early as possible. Before getting a student loan, you should try to find out how much money you will really need for tuition, books, and living expenses. That way, you can ask for the right amount and not have too little or too much.
Sometimes, universities and colleges award bursaries or scholarships to people who have not asked for them. Usually, however, students apply for the money, and then they find out later whether or not they have received it. Before you apply for funding, you should look to see what the government wants in return. If you get a large loan, be sure that you are in a field of study that leads to a good job. If a scholarship requires you to work at a certain place after graduation, be sure to do that.
Government financial aid can be very helpful for students at universities or colleges, but it usually has some kind of requirement, whether academic or financial. Enjoy the money, but don’t forget your responsibilities.
Canadian Mental Health Association. “Funding your education.” http://www.cmha.ca/youreducation/funding.html.
CanLearn. “Frequently Asked Questions.” http://www.cibletudes.ca/eng/common/help/faq/index.shtml.
Career College Central. “When Good Loans Go Bad. http://careercollegecentral.com/news/When_Good_Loans_Go_Bad.
CIBC. “A Guide to Student Loans.” https://www.cibc.com/en/personal-banking/loans-and-lines-of-credit/articles-resources/student-loan-guide.html.
Services for Youth. “Paying for School.” http://www.youth.gc.ca/eng/topics/education/financing.shtml.
Worldwide Learn.com. “What is Financial Aid for Canadian Students? http://www.worldwidelearn.com/financial-aid/canadian-students.htm.