When planning for higher studies in Canada, you need to plan ahead for your expenses long before the selection letter is typed. Many international students take help of the different grants or scholarships for covering their educational cost. However, most of these will cover only a part of your entire cost of degree. For rest of the amount you need to find a funding source or go for a study loan. Student loan is a more convenient way to meet your expenses, as it covers the entire cost of education. However, a co-signer is a must for that. On an average, an Indian student needs Rs.15-20 lakhs or more for study in Canada, depending on the university tuition fees and location.
Where can you find Loan Sources and Scholarships?
When you begin to look for an education loan provider, it will help if you organise your search very carefully. It’s usually best to search for loan providers in the following order:
Loans and Scholarships from Home country:
It is lot easier to find funding solutions in your home country, where things are familiar to you. There would be companies and institutions in your country with an affiliation to Canadian education institutes and universities who would be ready to fund your study. These would help you in getting the required funds for education. Apart from these many banking and non-banking associations also provide loans to students wishing to pursue studies in Canada. NGOs and private institutions offer various scholarships for certain programmes. Make sure to find such institutions and apply to them for funds.
Loans and Scholarships in Canada:
Many Canadian universities offer various grants and scholarships to international students. What you need to do is shortlist the colleges that offer such schemes and check if you are eligible for it. If yes, then apply to such universities. The scholarships will help fund your study hence, reducing your financing constrains. Lot of international students follow this path. The best part of such scholarships is that, you don’t need to repay them like the usual loans after completing your degree. These scholarships are not so easy to earn, but you won’t know until you give it a try.
What are the other options to fund your study?
Canadian universities also offer merit based assistance in various forms such as tuition fee waivers, assistantships and fellowships. The most common are listed here:
Tuition Fee Waiver:
Tuition fee waiver may be given in full or partially, i.e. you do not need to pay any tuition fees or only a small part of the actual tuition fee at the university. However, you need to pay other general fees like library fee, computer lab fee, fee for sports and games, etc. Tuition fee waivers usually come in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.
Assistantship is a very good way to reduce the funding pressure. Assistance is usually in the form of cash stipend, sufficient for your living expenses, and/or tuition fee waiver. In return you may have to work as a research assistant or teach. Assistantship is usually offered in universities where there is huge number of undergraduates. However, for a teaching assistantship you might need to take the Test of Spoken English.