Show Me the Money - Financing Your Education

Welcome to the land of post-secondary education - where excitement, enrichment, and experience all comes at a price.

Many parents can't cover the rising costs of post-secondary education. And even with a part-time job and summer employment, you could find yourself short on tuition money come September.

If you're looking for alternative sources of financing, the government and banks are a good place to start.

The Government-Sponsored Student Loan

Government-sponsored student loans are available to eligible students through the federal, provincial and territorial governments. If approved for a government student loan, you'll get a fixed amount of money for the semester or year specified in your application.

Government student loans offer the following major benefits:

  • It spares you all payments as long as you remain a qualifying student.
  • After graduation you are given a grace period until you have to start making payments on the total amount you've borrowed.

For information on government financial assistance, eligibility, application requirements and much more, check out Student Aid Opens in a new window..

The Education Line of Credit (a.k.a. The Parent-Sponsored Loan)

Not everyone is eligible for a government-sponsored student loan. Even if you are approved, government student loans may not meet all of your financial needs. This means you could still find yourself living on a very tight budget, and may need an education line of credit.

An education line of credit is:

  • an alternative financing option available to students through most banks
  • often referred to as a "parent-sponsored" loan because, in most cases, a parent or guardian will have to co-sign your loan application

The amount of money you receive will vary from bank to bank, but the borrowing contracts are usually quite similar. You will be expected to make monthly interest-only payments while you remain a qualified student (refer to specific bank websites for criteria).

Once you've graduated, depending on your loan agreement, your grace period to repay your principal can last anywhere from six to 12 months.

A major benefit of the education line of credit is that you can make a lump sum payment at any time. This will let you pay off the amount sooner and free up money for future use (as long as you remain a qualifying student).

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