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When it comes to paying for summer school, you have options

The best way to finance your summer school is to find “free money."

The best way to finance your summer school is to find “free money." In other words, grants, scholarships and bursaries that don’t accrue interest and never have to be paid back. Websites such as ScholarshipsCanada.com and StudentAwards.com can help you find them.

Government loans are the traditional way of financing your schooling. If you’re a full-time summer student, which means 9.5 hours per week of classes, you can qualify for the full-time, no-interest loan and you don't have to pay it back until you’re no longer full-time status. These are provincial and federal student loans which you can apply for at the same time. You can complete a single application online and loans and grants from both governments will be calculated automatically. Visit www.CanLearn.ca for more information.

Student bank loans are another option. Not all banks consider summer school eligible for financing because it doesn't fall within the standard school year, from September to April.

However, Aviel Chow at the Student Financial Resource Centre in Alberta advises against a regular bank loan. “Whether you’re full-time or part-time, it's best to apply for the government student loans.” he says.

The centre is run by the Student Union at the University of Alberta. There are two government loan options for summer school, depending on your full or part-time status. Chow says that most students take part-time for spring and summer and opt for the part-time loan option, for which interest does accrue. You are expected to make payments on the interest during your school term.

Look to the universities and their affiliates for other sources of funding. For example, the U of A Student Union offers the Access Fund, a bursary based on financial need.

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