Plan ahead. Know ahead of time what your financial position will look like, and how much money you will need to come to school.
Don’t waste your summer. If your budget shows that you need more money to attend school, then make sure you work over the summer…and save as much money as possible for school.
Apply for student loans. In Ontario, students can apply for government financial assistance through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (a.k.a. OSAP). If you are from another province you can apply through your home province for government funding.
Look into bank-funded loans. If you don’t qualify for government student loans, you and your family may qualify for private education loans or student lines of credit offered through a bank – shop around since loan products vary from bank to bank. You and your family may benefit from a preferred lending rate at your regular bank based on your financial history. While government student loans are the best bet for students, bank education loans can be a good alternative – they have competitive interest rates (compared to government student loans) and usually you just pay monthly interest payments while you are in school.
Apply for all bursaries and scholarships for which you qualify. As these types of awards are non-repayable, the more you can get, the better. Many of these are offered through the school, but check out other possibilities based on you and your family’s situation and connections. Some of the types of affiliations that could offer scholarships or bursaries are: your or your parent’s employer, your hometown/location, your citizenship, special skills, club affiliations, extracurricular activities, cultural or religious affiliations, veterans’ groups, and unions.
Exercise your budgeting skills. Check your budget on a weekly basis once you start school. This will help keep you on track and avoid a crisis. As a student, you will probably find that the majority of your funds come at the beginning of each semester (such as through student loans) and that much less of it comes on a regular basis (such as through part-time employment). A school-year budget will help you manage your funds and spending so that you don’t unexpectedly come up short mid-way through the semester or year.
Take advantage of services and programs offered by school, such as student financial assistance workshops, bursary programs, one-on-one advising and referrals. In addition, there’s lots of information on our website to help you with your financial planning.
Look closely at your budget and trim costs where you can. Something will always come up, so it is important that you have been frugal most of the time, so that you can splurge once in a while.
Be wary of credit cards. Limit yourself to one or two cards with a low annual or no annual fee. Many banks offer student credit cards with special terms geared towards meeting student needs. Shop around to find the best product for your situation. In addition, paying off your balance each month will ensure that you do not end up paying for the item or service you have purchased two to three times (the interest on most credit cards adds up very quickly). If you manage your credit card debt well, and repay your debt in a timely manner, you will be able to establish a good credit history. Just be careful with accumulating credit card debt - being a student is hard enough without the added pressure of this monthly debt.
Get a part-time job. The University offers many part-time employment opportunities through work-study programs. Jobs are posted in September and fill up quickly, so apply early. We also have a Job Board that lists available positions off-campus. We recommend that you work no more than 10 to 15 hours per week so that you will still have plenty of time for your classes and homework. Unless you have had experience juggling part-time work and school, you may find that working more than this many hours per week has a negative effect on your studies.
If you are in a financial crunch, don’t try to hide from it or walk away from school. Talk to someone in the Financial Aid & Awards office. We can help!