Future Start

Whether going to Community College, Private College or University there are many funding options available. Many students decide to take a student loan through the bank, but end up paying high and unnecessary interest and sometimes do not get the full funding they need or qualify for.

The easiest and best way many students access a student loan is through their provinces' Student Assistance Program through the Canadian Government. To apply for a student loan through Nova Scotia Student assistance go to studentloans.ednet.ns.ca, create an account to fill out and submit the application. There may be paper work you need to fill out and mail in so have a printer handy. Student loans can be tricky and one key tip is to only use the money you need while keeping what is left aside somewhere safe, such as a savings account, where if the need for it arises it can be used, but if the need does not arise it is there to fall back on when loan payments start after your schooling is over.

Student loans sometimes have a non-repayable portion called a Student Grant. These can be great but if you decide to leave your program early or have a bad academic standing at any point during your schooling, you may also be asked to pay the grant(s) back as well as your loan. Make sure that you pay back your loan in full after you are through school and that you make your scheduled payments on time. Payment amounts and scheduling can always be adjusted based on your employment and income status once you are no longer in school. Student loans do not help you build your credit score, but they can hurt it drastically if not paid on time or in full when expected to be. Remember to check your on-line account frequently for any changes. Loans are not free money. They will always need to be paid back.

Another common way to fund school is through scholarships and bursaries. There are options provided through high schools and at many college and university. Some are program specific while others are open to the whole student population. Scholarships and bursaries are set amounts which vary and some are only for specific things, such as tuition or textbooks. They can be a one-time deal or be renewable and carry through from year to year throughout your study period and program. Also look into local banks, credit union and businesses for scholarships and bursaries.

Here is a link to a NS Government page that list funding options including some Scholarship/Bursary options: http://careers.novascotia.ca/financing-options.

Please don't forget to also check for scholarships and bursaries at the school campus you plan on attending. These may be available through a link on their website or can be available through their Student Services office.

Whatever your funding option is make sure that you are committed to the program you chose is right for you. Sometimes if you drop out of a program or have poor grades you will lose and maybe even need to pay back your scholarship or bursary. For the student loan program, if you drop out of or have poor academic standing in a program you are put on probation. If you apply to and drop out of another program or continue to have poor academic standing you can be kicked out of the student loan program, which means you lose your loan/grant(s). This also means that you cannot apply for or receive any student loans, grants or further funding from student assistance for a period up to 7 years. There is an appeal process, but it does not always work in your favor.