A mini guide to financial aid

Header image for the article A mini guide to financial aid
School is hard enough, but the true challenge of attending college or university lies in the thought of how you’re going to pay for it all. By understanding your potential financial aid options now, you may be able to save yourself from some trouble later down the road.

Fanshawe students can learn about the College’s financial aid at fanshawec.ca/paying-college/financial-aid-awards.

Western University students can find more info at registrar.uwo.ca/student_finances.

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

OSAP is a payment assistance program for students attending college or university. If your application is submitted and approved, your payment comes out in two parts. Loans are borrowed money that you must pay back after your schooling is over. Grants are money that you can keep and not pay back. The funding you may receive relies on your pre-existing financial status. Your student loans will begin to collect interest once you have finished your studies, so register yourself with the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) online to review how much you need to pay back, your payment deadlines and to figure out a payment plan that works for you. It’s always a good idea to apply for OSAP as early as you can. For more information on how to apply, visit osap.gov.on.ca.

Bursaries

A bursary is a type of award given to students when they cannot afford school payments on their own. Bursaries are typically based on an individual’s personal info and family financial status. There are a few bursaries that act as a work-study option. This means that the college/university that you are receiving the bursary from will provide you with a paid job at the college that accommodates to your schedule and program. You need to apply yourself to these bursaries in order to be considered. You can also be accepted for multiple bursaries at the same time.

Scholarships

A scholarship is like a bursary, but it’s usually based on a student’s grades and merits as well as their financial status. They are more difficult to acquire as many require a minimum grade point average or extra-curriculars. The criteria of the scholarship depends on the scholarship donor’s values and purpose. Athletic scholarships are also available, given to students with exceptional skills in a specific sport. Again, you often need to apply in order to be considered.

Other Options

If none of these options are applicable to you, consider talking to your bank about more personalized options. They may be able to offer you a good deal on bank loans, lines of credit or credit cards. You may be able to increase your credit score in preparation for some hefty purchases you might make for after you’re done school, like buying a car or a house. Taking on any of these options can be scary, but if you stay organized and consistently check in on your financial status, you’ll be OK.