Financing 101: Tips for Funding Your Academic Career

With your university applications submitted, now is a good time to start thinking about how you'll pay for your education. There's no need to worry or fear about money; here are some tips to start earning and saving to fund your degree.

Apply for scholarships

Many universities have plenty of scholarships available — and there are different types of scholarships you can apply for.

Most schools offer entrance scholarships for full-time students beginning their first year of study. These are based off your high school marks and don't require an application. Other scholarships require an application and are often based on your academic or extracurricular achievements.

It's best to dedicate some time to research the various scholarships offered by the universities you've applied to. Take a look at what's offered and make note of the ones you're eligible for. Using an Excel spreadsheet is a great way to easily keep track of the deadlines and prioritize which ones to apply to. Starting early is best so you don't miss any deadlines and have enough time to make sure your application is edited thoroughly!

Looking for more tips and advice? Read our article on finding and applying to scholarships.

Apply for government aid

Applying for government aid usually takes place in May or June. Government aid consists of loans and grants, where grants are not paid back (extremely beneficial for all students), and loans are. The amount provided is unique to everyone. It depends on family size and income, cost of your program's tuition, and if you plan to live on residence, off-campus, or commute.

If you're eligible for government aid, it can help immensely with paying for your tuition and living expenses. Even if you don't think you're eligible, it's worth a shot applying to see if you can get some funding support.

Looking for the right financial aid office? Check out this article on provincial student loans.

Co-operative education: Co-op

If you're accepted into a co-op program, you'll work full-time in between your study terms (gaining experience before you graduate!). At Waterloo, in our co-op programs, students earn between $8,400 to $19,800 per work term in Canada, which goes a long way in helping pay for your studies!

Co-op programs are a great way to make money, along with building your network and your resumé for your future career.

Budget your spending

A great way to save your money is to track your spending and create a budget. An Excel sheet is an easy way to do this. The document can include your financial goals and every transaction you've made, categorized by personal needs and wants.

Budgeting will help you keep track of where your money is going, learn more about your spending habits, and make changes accordingly. It's an excellent habit to develop before starting university!

Hopefully these tips have helped you gain some insight on planning for your education. By following these tips, financing doesn't have to be hard!

Read Waterloo's ultimate guide to financing your education