Figuring out how to afford school isn’t always easy. So we’ve broken down your available options depending on the program or training you are pursuing at Lethbridge College.
It’s also important to develop a budget to determine what resources you have, where you might be able to save and whether you may need a part-time job while in school. Use our Budget Wizard to help make sense of your finances.
Download a print version of the Indigenous funding guide.
I am Status First Nations
I am Non-Status First Nations
I am a Métis Student
I am and Inuit Student
If you are a Status First Nations student, you may be eligible for band funding. Each band’s post-secondary office has its own:
- application and deadline
- funding priorities
There are many similarities in the application and funding process; however, they are not all the same and the demand or waiting list varies with each band. You must contact your band for details about the application process. If you are not aware of your band’s contact information, you can find it at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Typically, First Nations bands have a deadline of June 15 for the fall semester; however, the deadline is ultimately left to the discretion of each band. It is highly advised that you contact your band directly to determine the application deadline for each semester.
Some bands will provide financial support based on your readiness, so apply early to the college. This way, you can attach your acceptance letter to your application. If you have not received your acceptance letter, apply for funding and then send a copy of your acceptance letter to your band as soon as possible.
Note: If you are from the Blood Tribe, you are required to apply for three to five scholarships, so apply as soon as you can to ensure your application will be complete when submitted.
Minimum GPA policy
Many bands have adopted a minimum GPA policy for continued funding from term to term. Local band GPA policies vary from 1.6 to 2.0 out of 4.0. Some bands will allow one semester with a GPA below their requirement and enforce a probationary period while others may suspend funding immediately. You must understand any such minimum GPA policies to be aware of the risk of losing funding. For some First Nations students, the suspension for funding can mean no band funding for several years.
Submission of documentation
Most bands also have a requirement for a transcript and/or registration confirmation after each semester. You can access an unofficial copy of your grades and your schedule or request an official transcript on myHorizon.
Note: You will not be able to access this information if there is a financial hold on your account. Clearing up any bills with the college will ensure that you avoid a financial hold and have full access to grades, schedules and transcripts.
Be sure to ask your band if direct deposit is available. This makes receiving your monthly allowance much easier.
Each band has priorities that determine which individuals will be considered for funding first. Due to the high demand for funding, these priorities play a significant role in determining whether a student will be funded. Typically, first priority is given to:
- students graduating from high school
- students who are considered continuing students
Local bands have reported limited budgets have not allowed them to fund students who are not first priority, however this varies year to year depending on the number of applications received.
Freehorse Family Wellness Society, located in Edmonton, funds:
- Status First Nations students who are considered Bill-C31 and who are from a few specified bands or the Northwest Territories
- Inuit students who are Alberta residents (living in Alberta for 12 consecutive months prior to attending a post-secondary program) with Inuit status and who are not eligible for funding from:
- Government of Northwest Territories
- Nunavut student financial assistance programs
For more information on eligibility criteria, refer to the society’s post-secondary handbook.
Student line of credit
If you are not eligible for a student loan, a student line of credit from a bank may be a last resort. These types of loans are less flexible and should be considered as your last and final option.
Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS)
Some agencies, both on- and off-reserve, provide funding for apprenticeship training through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Typically, an Aboriginal Employment Services office will be the agency that distributes this funding.
Community Futures Treaty 7 is a regional organization that provides ASETS funding. For more information on eligibility, the application process or an Aboriginal Employment Services office near you, call 403-238-6116 or visit Community Futures.
The Government of Canada provides income support to eligible apprentices during periods of technical training through the Employment Insurance system. Apprentices should consult directly with Service Canada.
To be considered for EI benefits while attending technical training, apply at Service Canada as soon as you stop working. If you have applied for or are receiving EI benefits prior to training, you must complete another application indicating your technical training information.
You can call 1-800-206-7218 (in Alberta) or visit Service Canada for additional resources.
Alberta Income Support
Sometimes EI benefits are not enough to meet your costs while in technical training or you may not have worked enough hours to be eligible for benefits.
Financial assistance from Alberta Human Services may be available to registered apprentices attending full-time technical training as part of their apprenticeship program or, if eligible, are taking advantage of available EI benefits and demonstrate financial need.
To be considered for financial assistance, you must submit an application to the Learner Income Support office. If the application is approved, you will receive financial assistance in the form of a grant. A grant does not have to be repaid. However, like EI benefits, grants are taxable.
The amount of financial assistance is based on your demonstrated need and is used to cover expenses incurred while attending the technical training portion of your apprenticeship, which includes:
- living expenses
The Income Support Application for Apprentices is available here, at an Alberta Apprenticeship and Training Office or the Lethbridge College Student Awards and Financial Aid office.
Grants and scholarships for apprentices
The Government of Canada offers tax measures and grants to assist those involved in apprenticeship training, including:
- Apprenticeship Incentive Grant
- Apprenticeship Completion Grant
- Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit
- Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction
You can also apply for scholarships through a variety of sources, including government, post-secondary institutions, private industry and service organizations. More information can be found at Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Alberta Works funding
Alberta Works funding can be accessed on the Lethbridge campus at our Student Awards and Financial Aid office. Alberta Works funds on-campus delivery programs only. To meet eligibility requirements, you must:
- have an established Alberta residency at the time of application to college
- demonstrate a need for training or retraining
- have been out of the K-12 school system for at least one year
The amount of money you have in the bank or the income of your family can also affect eligibility. If you have been funded before for programs, you cannot reapply for funding until four years have passed. It is important to start the funding process four to five months before your desired start date.
University College Entrance Preparation Program (UCEPP)
UCEPP is intended to provide financial assistance to Status First Nations and Inuit students enrolled in university or college entrance program, including upgrading, to help them achieve the academic level required to enter degree or diploma programs.
You must be a Status First Nations (residing on- or off-reserve) or Inuit who has been residing in Canada for 12 consecutive months prior to the date of application for funding. You are required to obtain a statement from Lethbridge College confirming:
- the UCEP program will provide you with the necessary courses to attain the academic level for university or college entrance
- you will be eligible to be accepted as a student of a regular university or college credit program upon successful completion of the UCEP course of studies
Administration of the program is done through the band or designated band organization that determines the funding and selection criteria in accordance with national guidelines. You should contact your local band office if you want to purse post-secondary studies and access available funding programs.
Métis Employment Services
In Alberta, Métis students can access funding for one year, typically their final year, from Métis Employment Services, Rupertsland Institute. However, we have been informed that there are times when you can access funding for the full two years of a diploma program.
More information on the funding opportunity with this organization can be found at Rupertsland Institute.
There may be other funding opportunities in other provinces so if you are a Métis student from another province, check with your provincial Métis Nation office:
- Métis National Council
- Métis Nation of Alberta
- Métis Nation BC
- Métis Nation – Saskatchewan
- Manitoba Métis Federation
- Métis Nation of Ontario
Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund
The Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund was established by the Edmonton Community Foundation in 2001 by the directors of the Canative Housing Corporation, Orval Belcourt, Herb Belcourt and Georges Brosseau, to help Métis Albertans realize self-sufficiency through post-secondary education and skills development.
Since 2002, the awards have provided more than $4 million related to over 900 awards to more than 600 Métis Albertans studying at institutions across Alberta and beyond, making it the largest non-governmental source of student funding for Métis students in Canada.
To apply, you must:
- be Métis
- demonstrate financial need
- intend to pursue a qualified program
Awards are based on:
- a holistic assessment of financial need
- connection to the Métis community
- likelihood of improved opportunities
- other circumstances
Awards generally range between $2,000 and $7,000 and cover a portion of education-related costs such as tuition, fees and books. Priority is given to full-time students entering their first year of post-secondary education.
Find the full award criteria and priorities at Edmonton Community Foundation.
Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP)
Inuit students who have been residing outside of the Northwest Territories or Nunavut for 12 consecutive months can be eligible for funding through PSSSP. Inuit students residing in these territories are eligible for funding support from their respective territorial governments.
Eligible Inuit students seeking more information on how to apply for available funding for post-secondary education should contact the designated organizations or the INAC regional office in the province where they have resided for the past 12 consecutive months. Designated organizations can be found at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.