1. Your Education – An Investment in Yourself

Many people look at their education as an investment in their future. In other words, as something that should give them a long term pay back. It should earn them money in the long run, not cost them money.

One return on your investment may be starting a new career. It may include greater job security or greater opportunity for job advancement. Another advantage may be more job satisfaction – doing something a person likes to do. Each of these could be realistic outcomes when investing in your education.

Another reason to invest in education is to increase earning power – earn a higher income.

2. Alberta and Canada Student Loans

Students may apply for a student loan. Alberta Student Loans and Canada Student Loans are accessed by submitting one application. There are a number of advantages to a student loan.

2018-2019 Alberta Student Aid Applications are now available! For details, click here.

  • Student loans are interest free as long as the student remains a full-time student.
  • Once the student is at repayment stage, interest on the loan is tax deductible.
  • Student loans include grants and bursaries. If you successfully graduate, you do not pay these back. Some examples of grants and bursaries are:
    • Alberta Maintenance Grant – for students caring for small children
    • Alberta Part-Time Grant – for part-time students
    • Canada Student Grant for Low and Middle Income Students
    • Canada Student Grants for Students with Disabilities
    • Canada Student Grant for Students with Dependents

We assist with Alberta Student Loans and Student Line of Credit as well; however you may also apply on your own.

Note: in general, Student Loan awards cover a portion of the total cost of education. Therefore students need to consider other funding sources such as support from family members, savings, or a Student Line of Credit. Please read below to learn more.

Click here to see an example of Student Aid Alberta Financial Assistance and Repayment Amounts.

How to Apply:

Online applications available at: Alberta Students Finance, or send in a paper form application (your admission advisor will assist you).

For more information on Canada Student Loans and Grants visit www.canlearn.ca.

3. Student Line of Credit

Banks offer Student Lines of Credit. If a student qualifies and has a co-signer, banks provide a student line of credit. While in school, interest is usually prime plus 1% and the student only pays interest on the amount used at any point in time, not on the total amount. Students should normally go to the lending institution they or their co-signers currently deal with. However, students may also consider one of the banks Columbia College has developed a relationship with.

Lending Institutions
Students should apply to more than one lending institution and then take the best offer.
Some students may need to borrow from more than one source. A co-signature may be required.
Name of LenderPhone Number and Website
Scotia BankToll-free 1-800-972-6842
Royal BankToll-free 1-800-ROYAL11
Canadian Imperial Bank of CommerceToll-free 1-800-465-2422
Bank of MontrealToll-free 1-877-CALL-BMO

Click here to see Click here to see Details of Banks Offering Student Line of Credit..

Scholarships and Bursaries

Online Resources for Students Seeking Scholarships and Bursaries

The following websites have been identified as of most value to our students in their search for scholarships and bursaries.

  • Calculate the true cost of an education at www.CanLearn.ca, the federal government’s one-stop resource for post-secondary students. There is also a consumer’s guide to learning and a loan repayment calculator there.
  • Several websites contain listings for hundreds of Canadian scholarships:

4. Alberta Works Employment and Training Grants

If you plan to take ESL, Upgrading, or Employment Training, you may be eligible for grant funding through Alberta Works.

Grant funding covers the costs of tuition, books and supplies, as well as, providing a living allowance for an eligible learner. Grant funding is available to Employment Insurance (EI) recipients and to people who do not qualify for EI benefits. Part-time training support is available to eligible individuals through the Skills Investment Bursary for up to $5,000 per year.

For more information please contact a Columbia College Student Services Advisor.

You may also access information at the following:

T2202a Note: Foundation programs such as English as a Second Language and Academic Upgrading do not receive a T2202a as they are not recognized as qualifying programs under the Canada Revenue Agency requirements. For questions regarding the Canada Revenue Tax requirements, please contact the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.

5. Columbia Learning Society Bursary

With the advice and recommendation of your Admission Advisor, you may apply for a Columbia Learning Society bursary to help you pay for your tuition. A student must meet specific requirements in order to be able to apply for this bursary. This bursary may be awarded after completion of the program and support decreasing outstanding student loans.

6.Let’s talk about budget. What does budgeting mean?

Budgeting is a kind of balance between income and expenses. It helps you plan out your expenses and manage them in advance of paying them so you can ensure that you have more than enough money in reserve to cover your expenses.

Expenses can be itemized within categories (for example, housing, utilities, food, entertainment, transportation, insurance, personal care, vacation and savings could all be budget items) and are over the time period you intend to manage (say weekly, monthly or annually). Some expense items can be variable (i.e., they don’t occur on a regular and predictable basis) and some are the same every month. Expense items are deducted from your income. In the ideal budget, there are savings after expenses. The most basic of budgets balances income and expenses. When expenses exceed income, you are spending your reserve savings, and action should be taken to cut expenses or increase income to restore the balance.

What’s so important about a budget?
A budget is a financial tool to help you keep expenses and income in balance. As a student, your financial needs are fairly straightforward and predictable but your resources might be limited. Budgeting can help you to manage your spending patterns so you stay on track in managing limited financial resources.

As long as your expenses stay at or below your income, then you’re OK. If expenses exceed your expectations, you’re spending your savings. Once you get comfortable with budgeting, you will find that you can do more with your financial resources than you might have initially thought.

What’s the use of it?
Not everyone actually enjoys budgeting. But it is a tool to gain control over the financial part of your life. And finances are usually a key part of everyone’s life.

I’ve never been able to stick to a budget. What am I doing wrong?
It’s not easy to stick to a budget. You may have variable items like personal care, entertainment or department store purchases that rise and fall every month. If you are consistently off budget, you need to take another look at the process.

Are you being realistic? You may have set savings goals that are too high. Or you may have taken on rent that is out of line with your income. You may be willing to live this way, but your budget should reflect this choice with accurate numbers.

Are there areas where you could reduce expenses? Perhaps the best use of a budget is in really letting you examine your expenses in order to separate the essentials from the not-so-essential.

What do I need for a successful budget?
The most important thing you need for a successful budget is the willpower to sit down and do it the first time. Give yourself time to think of all your monthly expenses. Look in your bank statement and outline your typical bill payment schedule. Put expenses on one side of the page. On the other side, put your monthly income after taxes.

Forecast your expenses and income month by month, one month to a page. After a few months, you will find that a pattern emerges and that projecting your spending and planning for savings becomes easier and easier.

What are the important factors I need to take into account when planning a budget?
When doing a budget, you must take into account many factors.

Be thorough in evaluating your income and your expenses. You may have hidden items in each category. For example, bank interest for income and bank charges for expenses. Items may look small, but if you add enough of them up, they can be sizable.

Be honest. Commit to recording every expense. At the end of the month, your items should balance.

The most important budgeting concept to learn as early as possible is how to plan for savings.

Are there different types of budgets?
Yes, budgets can differ and usually vary to reflect the specific needs people have at different stages of life. Whether you are a student or a young person just starting out on your career path, or you’re in mid-life, or preparing for retirement, everyone has different financial requirements along the way and therefore needs different things from a budget plan.

Helpful links:


Click here to see the Spending Plan Worksheet

Click here to see the Money Mentors – Stretch Your Dollars – Budgeting Basics.