Leave your money problems at home, we're here to help

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Financial assistance available for students

Class registrations comes around the same time every year and yet, as students begin to take the time to carefully select their courses to sculpt a beautifully organized schedule, many are still blown away with the realization of just how much it is going to cost. Education isn't cheap, but that shouldn't be a reason that prevents anyone from going to school. That is why there are a number of resources available to help students financially with a range of different learning opportunities, whether it is with studying within the province or even abroad in a different country.

Ontario Student Assistance Program

One of the most popular options among students is OSAP. The program is made up of a mix of grants and loans that encourages students to attend post-secondary school by covering college or university fees. With an online application, the assistance program will determine the amount of money that will be loaned or granted based on a number of variables asked in the online application, such as the yearly net income of parents and/or guardians and the cost to attend school for that year. A range of questions will be asked to cater to the different circumstances of each individual, giving the most appropriate access to financial aid programs as necessary. An added bonus: approved applicants received 30 per cent off loans within four years of graduating from an Ontario high school. Three hip-hip-hoorays for SAVINGS!

Financial aid from schools

The financial aid programs offered vary from each independent education institution. Students are encouraged to check in with their schools to explore options and take part in the programs best suited for their needs. Assistance can come in the form of bursaries, scholarships, work-study programs or summer employment opportunities. It's like the secret cool-kid club that all studying students want in on.

French bursary program

A prime example of the type of sweet deals that schools are willing to hook their studying students up with. The Explore program is a French-language bursary program that allows participants to enroll in an extensive five-week trip to another region in Canada to learn the country's second language. For a full spring or summer term, the government covers expenses such as tuitions, meals, and stay. All that is required is an online application. The draw for approved names takes place early spring. Of course, the golden ticket that allows all of this to happen can be found at myexplore.ca/en.

Scholarships and bursaries

These are opportunities open to anybody and everybody looking to score anywhere between a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars towards tuition. Unlike OSAP and other financial aid programs, these offers by government, schools and private organizations are presented based on merit, not need. Some may ask for an application, others an essay, but no matter as offers are all fair game out on the public table. Two websites that students may find useful are yconic.com or scholarshipsCanada.com; they're like the Tinder for education.

Disability awards

For any person living with a disability, log onto disabilityawards.ca as it connects students studying at a Canadian college or university with exclusive awards and scholarships. The website contains a database of scholarships, bursaries and grants, so go on and tell one, tell all!

International scholarships

Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to L.A., New York, Vegas to Africa. Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull certainly understand wanderlust, or in this case, the desire to travel out of the country and receive an education in a different part of the world. A joint international initiative between Global Affairs Canada and other foreign governments provides support to those studying abroad. GAC provides support to international scholars in the country, while Canadians receive assistance from organizations and the government of their chosen country. If exploring and learning about new cultures sounds intriguing, go to scholarships-bourses.gc.ca for more information.

If any of these options interest you, a bit of personal research or seeking advice from a trusted source or financial advisor would be highly suggested as there are often other repercussions and conditions to take into consideration. One option may ultimately prove to be more beneficial than another, varying from the different circumstances and lifestyle of each individual. A number of alternative options exist and are available, all that is required is an open-mind and a little research. True success stories include those who graduated with a post-secondary education completely debt-free. What a time to be alive!