I loved writing about something that required research last time, and this issue is something very near and dear to me since I’m currently going through the college application process. As someone with no savings and no real income, I’ve done a lot of worrying about how I’m going to afford college, especially when I see the numbers of how much my program costs. So allow me to take you along on my journey through researching how I can pay for college.
The first place I looked was obviously the Ontario government’s website, where I found OSAP, which should be pretty well known. The acronym stands for Ontario Student Assistance Program, though, which I didn’t know.
OSAP is a combination of grants and loans available to residents of Ontario who are either a Canadian Citizen, a permanent resident, or a protected person. It’s also not intended to cover all the costs of post-secondary, which is discouraging.
Then I looked into exactly what I can get for the 2017/18 school year, and that was much more encouraging. Full-time students can get up to $13,260 – I think that’s per year, which is a lovely number to hear. Even better, though, is the coverage for low-income families. If your parents make under $50,000 per year and you’re a full-time student, OSAP will cover tuition. I’m pretty sure that means full coverage, which is flipping incredible.
I looked up other sources of student loans, and found options through banks, such as TD Canada Trust (that’s my bank.) Through TD, full-time students can get up to $15,000 per year up to a maximum total of $60,000 over four school years. They also have scholarships of up to $70,000 that have particular criteria you have to qualify for.
All those numbers are lovely, but what about paying back loans?
Grace periods vary depending where the loans are from, but it seems that you get at least six months after graduation to begin repaying the loans, paying as little as $50 or 1% of your debt per month.
The program I’m planning on taking is a bit different, and I couldn’t find information about what exactly it counts as. I’m pretty sure it’s a two-year diploma course, which I would then follow up with a “separate” course that turns it into a bachelor’s degree, but it’s too niche to find information about if it counts as a two-year or four-year program.
So in conclusion, there are lots of opportunities for someone low-income like myself, and I’m going to have to make sure I apply to absolutely everything once application opens up in spring. Again, I don’t know if this was helpful or interesting for you to read, but hopefully it was something good. I know I learned a fair bit.