Getting your finances in order before you start your post- secondary journey is a daunting yet critical process. We have devised a 5-step guide to help you break down your education costs, living expenses, and communication access requirements during your post-secondary studies and determine your eligibility for student loans and scholarships.
Step 1: Examine your Current Assets – Be sure to investigate the following potential sources of assets: Savings account, Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), Income from casual or part-time work, Family contributions. After clearly identifying the total assets that you have, you can determine how much of these total assets will go towards your post-secondary education.
Step 2: Anticipate Educational and Living Expenses – What are some anticipated costs throughout your post-secondary education aside from tuition, books and lab materials/supplies (if applicable), stationary, living costs, including food (if living away from home). For additional hearing access necessities, extra expenses may be incurred:
Step 3: Consider Money-Saving Tips – Some ways that you can look into cutting down the costs as much as possible:
Tuition – Check the breakdown of your tuition payment. In addition to course fees, there are other categories that you can opt out of paying. The most common one is your student medical/dental plan. Most institutions will automatically put you on a plan, but if you are already covered under another plan, there is no need to pay that fee. Speak to the appropriate department; Keep in mind that most institutions have deadlines for opting out.
Books – On the first day of class, check if the instructor is okay with the use of earlier book editions, which tend to be much cheaper. Also, most institutions have an online website where students put up used books for sale. In the best case scenario you can save at least $150-200 on textbooks.
Living Costs – Living on campus can be more expensive, consider finding a nearby place to rent with several people that you trust. If an alternative can be staying at home, you can use the money saved for meaningful opportunities such as going on an international exchange!
Step 4: Determine if You Qualify for a Student Loan – Now that you have had the opportunity to work out your assets and expenses. It is time to weigh the both of them and see whether you have a surplus (assets > expenses) or a deficit (assets < expenses). You can then look into applying for student loans and grants. To qualify for a student loan, and therefore be eligible for a grant, you must demonstrate a minimum financial need of at least $1 (your expenses outweigh your assets). Grants are key to obtaining assistive technology that you may need for your hearing access in the classroom. While you want to make yourself eligible for a student loan, keep in mind the gap between assets and expenses. The larger the gap, the more student loan you will be given and therefore be responsible for repaying after the completion of your studies.
Let’s figure out how to ensure you are eligible for a student loan:
Note: If you are applying for a student loan, it’s important to check off “yes” to having a permanent disability on your initial Student Loan application.
You can apply for a student loan through the Student Aid BC website. Full-time students will need to create an account with Student Aid BC and will be guided through the process of applying for a loan. Part-time students can fill out and mail a loan application package found on the website above.
Step 5: Explore Grants and Scholarships – The grants listed below require the verification of permanent disability document (Appendix 8 Form) – completed by you, your audiologist, and accessibility coordinator, along with a copy of your audiogram.
Once this document is submitted along with the student loan application and your status is approved, you are automatically eligible for all the applicable grants (those checked on the Appendix 8 form). There is no need to apply for each one individually.
All Grants are paid by cheque unless otherwise specified. You can request a direct deposit to your bank account by filling out and mailing this form from the National Student Loans Service Centre(NSLSC).
*Note: The above amount has been temporarily increased for 2020/21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional Grants with Specific Requirements:
Scholarships and Awards
Lastly there are scholarships and awards that you can pursue to build up your assets for your education.
Each scholarship will vary in terms of the amount of money awarded, eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadline to apply.
If you would like to know more about managing your finances, which is beyond the scope of this information, please feel free to email the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association BC Youth Peer Support Program as they offer workshops on this topic.