Can I afford post-secondary education? Financial help for Manitoban students

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The cost of post-secondary studies will depend on the kind of program you intend to take and how long it will take you to finish. It is estimated that tuition can range from $2,500 to $8,000 a year (Post-secondary education, costs and financial help, Government of Canada). Aside from this, additional costs to consider are travel or housing (if you intend to live independently or attend a school far from home), books, supplies, food, and other expenses.

How to pay for school

Students starting post-secondary studies do not have to rely entirely on their personal funds. You can look into grants, scholarships or bursaries or take out a loan (Manitoba Student Aid). If these are not enough, private loans are also available. These can be credit, personal loans, specialty and standard credit cards, credit lines and other borrowing solutions from banks, credit unions and other financial establishments.

Students normally take on a job to help pay for school. Some may take summer and part-time jobs. More than additional funds, this also gives students essential job training and exposure (read Why working while studying is good for you – 5 tips to succeed). Having work experience is an advantage for fresh graduates when they look for jobs in their respective fields later on.

The Manitoba Student Aid

The Manitoba Student Aid is the province’s main financial assistance program for students. It is interest-free and payment-free while the students attend school full-time. When you apply for the loan, you also automatically apply to the Canada Student Loans Program (the federal student loan program).

The program emphasizes that it supplements your resources, not replace it. There is no fixed amount given to students. It is calculated based on financial need and takes into account things like your parents’ income, family size, when you graduated from high school, and others.

Who is qualified to apply:

  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident (landed immigrant) or protected person
  • a Manitoba resident
  • studying at a designated school (see designated schools and programs)
  • able to pass a credit check if over 22 years of age and applying for the first time

Any Manitoban who wants to go to school (or back to school) but can’t afford it (e.g. students who have just graduated from high school, people who have been working for some time, single parents, married students) can apply for the Manitoba Student Aid. To know more about the requirements and how to apply, go to the Manitoba Student Aid website.

Education Savings

One of the best ways that parents can assure their children’s future is to save. A great investment to look into is the Registered Education Plan (RESP). The RESP is a tax-free education savings account designed specifically to fund your child’s post-secondary education. What’s great about it is that the government provides incentives for parents who open an RESP through the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and Canada Learning Bond (CLB). The CESG adds up to $7,200 to your RESP as long as you continue contributing to it while the CLB contributes up to $2,000 until your child turns 15 (read Ensuring a bright future for your child? Try the RESP to know more).
Sources: Post-secondary education, Government of Canada; Canada Student loans and grants, Government of Canada; and Manitoba Student Aid, Manitoba government. Accessed July 3, 2019.

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Community Resources

Interested in further studies? Here are supports for those who wish to take postgraduate studies or working to get licensed in the field: Planning on going back to school? Here are resources to back you up

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