Does the thought of paying for continuing education make you break out into a cold sweat? Between tuition, books, housing and living expenses, the costs associated with post-secondary school can take a toll on your wallet. Regardless, you will likely realize that higher education is a sound investment in your future if you have certain goals and career aspirations.
The good news is that students have several options when it comes to paying for post-secondary education in Alberta. Whether you are interested in going to a traditional university or a private vocational school, here are three strategies that will help you cover the cost of your studies.
1. Begin Saving Now
Consider starting a Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) the moment you decide to further your education. There are many financial planning options out there, so it’s wise to consult with a financial advisor to identify the best path for you. Once you register for a certified program, you can withdraw funds from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to finance your education. A bonus: the federal government permits annual withdrawals of $10,000, up to a maximum of $20,000 over four years—provided you meet the conditions of the LLP. But the key is to start saving immediately!
2. Reduce Debt
Look at all your debts and prioritize paying off those with the highest interest rates first. These are typically credit cards and personal loans. The quicker you can pay these off, the less interest you will accumulate, freeing up more money to save for your education.
You may also want to consider consolidating your debts into one loan with a lower interest rate. This will simplify your payments and could potentially save you a significant amount of money in interest. Speak to a financial advisor first to figure out a debt repayment plan that works for you.
3. Research Financial Aid Options
Both the federal and provincial governments offer monetary assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, bursaries and loans to help alleviate students and their families from the financial burden of post-secondary studies. Scholarships, grants and bursaries are awarded based on merit and financial need, and do not need to be repaid after graduation.
The government of Alberta also offers several financial aid programs designed to help prospective students pay for their post-secondary studies. However, heavy reliance on loans can rack up debt and delay financial independence after graduation. Make sure you fully understand the implications of taking out a loan before doing so.
Get Started on Your Post-Secondary Journey With ABES Today
Alberta Business & Educational Services (ABES) is a reputable private vocational school in Calgary that provides adult learners with superior hands-on healthcare training to prepare them for a brighter future.
Not sure you have the financial means? ABES is proud to support your education with various financial options. Our on-site advisers are committed to helping students access grants and funding opportunities to help them finance their post-secondary studies. Contact us for more information!