At Lethbridge College, we are ready to help make your post-secondary experience more accessible. An investment in your education is truly an investment in yourself. It’s a big commitment and now is the time to ensure your finances are in order. If you’re looking for some guidance as you plan your future here, we can provide you with plenty of sound financial advice.


Funding your future

There are a few different ways to access funds to help pay for your post-secondary education:

Full-time Government Student loans (for Canadian/Permanent Resident post-secondary students & apprentices)

See our Lethbridge College short introduction to student loans video

There are many upsides to borrowing from the government. Students are considered 'full-time' as long as they are registered in at least 9 credits per 4-month term. Dropping below that will necessitate that we cancel your loan. Stop by or email us for more information on the implications of this.

  • These loans are interest free until you complete/leave full-time studies. Alberta loans are also interest-free if you continue on a part-time basis (you must let them know).
  • You are assessed automatically for applicable grants (based on family income).
  • Due to Covid most government grants are still double their typical value.
  • When you repay, the interest is tax deductible.
  • And, if you need support when you are in repayment, you can apply for Repayment Assistance.
  • Government student loans help you establish a credit rating if you do not have one.
  • We will request your tuition and fees directly from your loan - we will send you an email the day that happens and also let your know if there are any issues. Watch for those emails from awards@lethbridgecollege.ca about a month prior to the start of each term. We can only request the amount owing at the time we confirm your full-time registration so any changes made after that date (the day of your email) are your responsibility to cover prior to the deadline. You will also see that the balance owing appears on your statement for some time -- we 'code' your account to ensure that any students whose loans are going to cover their fees are not de-registered.

Government student loans beat out any bank's line of credit for all these reasons (especially if you qualify for grants, which are essentially free money!). And in Alberta, students don't even have to report parental income, though making that choice does cost you any grant money for which you may have been eligible.

Alberta Student Aid has posted a video of 'how to apply' on their web site. It's a good starting point.

And the National Student Loans Service Centre has released a short video on the national side of loans (students are assessed both federally and provincially).

Part-time government student loans/grants are also available. Contact us for more information as there is a section that must be completed by Student Awards staff for these loans/grants.

Please note: Lethbridge College does not participate in the US Stafford Loan program.

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Contact information -- email awards@lethbridgecollege.ca, call us at 403-320-3372 or come in 8:30 - 4:30 - right by the front doors under the Financial Aid sign

If you need help understanding your government loan Student Award Letter or even help with applying, contact our Student Awards and Financial Aid Office. We can explain the details to you as well as our part of the process. If it makes sense to look into other options, such as working part-time or reducing your spending, be sure to do this as well. 

You can also try to get through without them and and then change your mind if you are struggling. Loans can be applied for anytime up until 30 days before the end of the academic year, so even if you initially decide to forego them you can apply if you run into trouble as long as you make that deadline.

Payment Plans

Full-time students in post-secondary credit programs who have explored and maximized all funding options and are still experiencing difficulties may apply for a Payment Plan. This agreement is made through the Student Awards and Financial Aid office and requires that applicants pay at least 50% of their balance prior to the tuition deadline for that term. A $50 fee will be applied and the remaining balance must be paid by the 1st day of the third month of the term in which it applies (November 1 for fall, March1 for winter, July 1 for summer and so on). Failure to pay the full balance by that date will result in the student being dropped from all classes, the payment being forfeited and the loss of access to College learning systems. Payment Plans are not available for the summer-short (May/June) term.

Awards and scholarships

Who would not like to be awarded a scholarship? To apply for Lethbridge College awards, just fill out our online application, which opens annually on March 1. Keep in mind that our awards are based on various criteria, from outstanding financial need to community service to academic achievement and beyond. Our awards and scholarships are not limited to scholarly achievement - but that sure doesn't hurt, either. Apprentice or grads who are selected will receive cheques in May/June. It is important to ensure that your address is up-to-date in our system. Entrance or continuing students will receive tuition credits on their accounts for the fall term after they are registered. Successful awards applicants/recipients will receive that information in the mail. Again, it is important that your address is kept up-to-date.

The awards program is open from March 1 to May 1 for apprentices, continuing students and graduating students. The application is open until July 15th for students entering the college for the first time, changing programs or those who began their programs in January. 

Feel free to check out our External Awards page for various opportunities not administered by Lethbridge College with varying criteria, deadlines and processes. 

For more information on provincially funded scholarships check out the scholarship page. (Note that provincially funded scholarships are restricted to Alberta residents - to qualify as residents people have to have lived in Alberta for at least 12 consecutive months before becoming post-secondary students. 

Grant Funding (Foundational Learning Assistance Program)

Foundational Learning) Assistance is available for eligible students; this grant funding is limited to ESL (excluding LINC) and Academic Upgrading students. Interested students need to connect with the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office staff and then they will receive an access code via email that enables them to apply for funding. (Upgrading students must first be registered and have met with an Academic Advisor.) Eligibility is determined by the province. Full-time students may receive a living allowance.

You will need to have a MADI (My Alberta Digital Identity - basic) account. Processing timelines are unknown right now but we have been assured that they will be faster than the traditional 8-10 weeks for this type of funding in the past.

Grants do not need to be paid back. Canada/Alberta Works offers Foundational Learning grants for eligible academic upgrading and ESL students. It's vital that you check out their eligibility criteria before you apply (there are penalties for such actions as leaving employment and other restrictions). You can find both the guidelines and the online application at Foundational Learning Application.

Also note that upgrading students must see an Academic Advisor prior to registering in classes and that ESL students should visit that department prior to registration.

Students can apply as much as 12 weeks before the first day of class. Again, your first step is connecting with us so we can enter your information into the system that generates an access code for you.

Please note that the allocation we receive is limited and that funding is not guaranteed - you may not qualify based on funding eligibility restrictions or we may reach the limit of our allocation

Veterans Education and Training Benefit

The Government of Canada's Veterans Education and Training Benefit is available to veterans with six years of service or more. Those with six years may be eligible for up to $40,000 to assist with tuition, supplies and living costs. Those with 12 years or more may be eligible for up to $80,000. Please see their link for details.

Loyalty Points

Fund your Lethbridge College fees with Aeroplan Miles, TD Points and/or CIBC Aventura points. Students, family members and friends are able to convert these loyalty points to cover Lethbridge College fees. To find out how it works, visit Higher Ed Points online.

Emergency Loans or Bursaries

If the personal portion of your student loan is late coming, or if you run into something you hadn't planned for that you would be able to cover within four weeks but need to pay for right now, Lethbridge College is ready to help. For a $15 fee that is repayable with the balance in four weeks, the college can lend you a reasonable amount for that short term. The amount is based on the need, and documentation may be required.

To qualify you must be in a position to repay the loan. And don’t forget that any loans that are not repaid will result in financial holds being applied, which will affect your ability to register for classes in the future or to graduate.

If you are facing a financial crisis, please connect with us in Financial Aid staff. If a short-term loan does not work in your situation and if you have met all the required criteria, you may be considered for an emergency grant/bursary. Staff will send you the application form with all the guidelines outlined. What happens next matters most, and we are ready to help if you find yourself facing some challenges.

To be considered for any bursary funding students must:

  • Be in a post-secondary program
  • Be enrolled full-time in the current term at Lethbridge College
  • Be in good academic standing (over 1.5 GPA)
  • Have applied for all benefits that are relevant (full student loans for example, not just the grant portion)
  • Demonstrate that your current financial need is a direct result of unforeseeable circumstances and that limited financial support is required in order for you to continue your studies at Lethbridge College
  • International students must have completed their first year of studies

Please note that the Winter Bursary Application period will open in October and close on November 30th.

Only successful applicants will be notified by Lethbridge College email in mid-December. (If you don't hear from us your application was not successful.)

Approved applicants will see a bursary of $1000 applied to their student account in early January.

Funding is limited, and approval is not a given. To apply contact the Financial Aid and Student Awards office at awards@lethbridgecollege.ca or 403-320-3372 or 1-800-572-0103 ext. 3372 to be sent an application form or for more information.

 

Students fleeing conflict/applying for refugee status may qualify for a discount.

Please refer to this page for details.

 

Getting started with a financial plan

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a spending plan. This can help you make smart choices to meet your post-secondary education goals.

A spending plan isn’t just about listing your expenses and income; it’s about seeing the big picture (tuition, books, living expenses and savings) while understanding the details (what resources you already have, if you need to reduce your spending, if it makes sense to find a part-time job).

For additional resources visit the Alberta ALIS website and click on Explore Education and Training.

Another valuable resource is the Financial Consumer Association of Canada.

My Money Coach offers loads of tips for people in all stages of the life cycle. Check it out for tips specific to students in post-secondary and all kinds of  information about credit, shopping and more. There is a lot of help out there for students. But please don't rely on awards, scholarships and bursaries to cover the bulk of your expenses. These are meant to supplement, not replace, the financial resources that you, your family and perhaps your student loan contribute. 

You probably already know there can be roadblocks to creating a budget and sticking with it. Our budget wizard tool can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. 

Budget Wizard

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that pulls it all together in just three easy steps.

Budget Wizard

  1. Input your income.
    • List any amounts you’ve saved or received for your education along with any scholarships and awards received to date as well as potential income from employment.
       
  2. Calculate your costs.
    • The budget wizard tool helps you determine the cost of your specific program as well as fees, textbook costs, accommodation rates and other living expenses while attending school.
       
  3. Consider your shortfall or excess.
    • At this stage, you’ll be able to see how much funding you’ll have available after spending per month. If you do have a shortfall, this is the time to consider applying for student loans or getting a part-time job. Please stop by our office or contact us if you have any concerns about your finances.

Additional resources are available through the province: Alberta Financial Literacy Resources