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.

Be pro-active and ask for support when or before you start this journey; there are plenty of resources to help you avoid a crisis. However, if you are in trouble be sure to connect with us. We may be able to help and you won't know unless you ask. It's a good (great) idea to review Financial Literacy Basics before you attend. These are short videos that will help you be ready for the financial aspects of your educational journey - and that will make everything less stressful.

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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

Government student loans have many advantages over bank loans/student lines of credit:

  • NEWS -- As of April 2023, federal student loans are interest free! - even after you complete your studies.
  • The Alberta Student Loan grace period (no interest and no payments) is newly extended to 12 months.
  • When you apply for loans you are automatically assessed for applicable grants (based on family income), duration of program, etc.
  • When you repay, any interest paid is tax deductible.
  • Government student loans help you establish a credit rating if you do not have one.
  • And, if you have trouble making payments after the grace period, you can apply for Repayment Assistance.

NOTE - Full time student loans require that students study 'full-time' (minimum of 9 credits/4 month term or 6 if approved for a Reduced Course Load). If students drop below full-time we are obligated to cancel their loans on that date. We will send an email when this happens.

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

Here is a direct link for those who are Alberta Residents (the province defines this as a person who has lived in Alberta for at least 12 consecutive months as a non-post-secondary student (so if you started your College program when you were a resident of another province, you are still a resident of that province - do an internet search for 'student loans in  xxx province')).

https://studentaid.alberta.ca/

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).

Note - Saskatchewan students' tuition and fees for both terms are charged in the fall - if the application dates cover two terms.

Note - some territories send funds directly to students after we confirm enrolment and fees, for instance NWT funded students must come in and pay even though they are receiving government funding.

Once you are approved for a government student loan:

We will request your tuition and fees directly from your loan, (as long as you entered your educational costs correctly) and we will send an email (to your lethbridgecollege.ca email) the day that happens and also let your know if there are any issues (insufficient funds, MSFAA outstanding, etc). 

Watch for those emails from awards@lethbridgecollege.ca about as early as 6 weeks 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 tuition deadline. 

You will also see that the balance owing appears on your statement in Self Service for some time -- we 'code' your account to ensure that any students whose loans are going to cover their fees are not de-registered but it takes time for each borrower's loan funds to arrive and to be posted on their student account. (That is why it's helpful to read your lethbridgecollege.ca email.)

 

Part-time Student Loans

  • Part-time government student loans/grants are also available. (Students in less that 9 credits of post-secondary in a regular 4 month term, if not approved by Accessibility for a Reduced Couse Load)  qualify as part-time.)
  • Contact us for more information as there is a section that must be completed by Student Awards staff for these loans/grants.
  • These applications are not done online - they take longer than full-time applications. Depending on timing we may require that you pay your tuition/fees by the tuition deadline and then you will be reimbursed if this application is successful.
  • Living allowance is not not provided to part-time students. 

     

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

*Lethbridge College Bursary Fund

This bursary may be available to students facing unforeseen situations that impact their finances. 

The fund is limited so it is restricted to those:

  • Who have done all that they can to access other supports (such as full student loans, employment, family)
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Who have a solid plan for the rest of their academic/financial journey

Applicants who have not met these requirements will not be considered but will be provided financial advice.

International students are more likely to be considered when they are in their final year of studies as they are expected to arrive prepared for a full year of expenses.

Successful applicants will receive an email informing them of this decision. 

Contact awards@lethbridgecollege.ca to request an application or further information.

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

If you need help understanding your government 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. You can apply for a government student loan 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 plus the administration fee prior to the tuition deadline for that term. 
  • A $100 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, March 1 for winter, July 1 for summer(long)). 
  • Failure to pay the full balance by that date will result in all payments being forfeited and the loss of access to College learning systems. 
  • Payment Plans are not available for the summer-short (May/June) term.

Humanitarian Program 

Students who are from countries recognized by the IRCC as being in crisis or students with special humanitarian status may be eligible for a special program

Awards and scholarships

Why not put yourself in the running for an award/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 compelling financial need to community service to academic achievement and more. 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 a letter about their awards via Canada Post in May/June. It is important to ensure that your address is up-to-date in our system. That letter explains how to activate the EFT for the award. 
  • Entrance or continuing students will receive notice about their awards in the mail too - their awards will be posted as tuition credits on their accounts for the fall term after they are registered and contact Accounting Services. 
  • Note that almost all entrance and continuing awards require full-time enrolment in the fall term.
  • Successful applicants are notified by mail - be sure to update your address if you move (use Self Service)

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. 

External Scholarship Opportunities 

  • Feel free to check out our Other Scholarship Opportunities page for various opportunities not administered by Lethbridge College with varying criteria, deadlines and processes. 

Provincial Scholarships - are limited to Alberta residents (based on residency criteria defined by the provincial government) 

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 of the province people have to have lived in Alberta for at least 12 consecutive months before becoming post-secondary students.)

 

Grant Funding through the Foundational Learning Assistance Program may be available for Academic Upgrading and English Language Instruction only (students on study permits are not eligible)

PLEASE NOTE -- this government funding has already been allocated for the 2023-24 academic year and we are awaiting the next contract.

When we receive notice of further funds for fall 2024 follow these instructions:

  • Upgrading students must have met with an Academic Advisor and be registered in their classes.
  • ESL students should have connected with that department prior to stopping by the Student Awards Office as well.
  • You will need to have a MyAlberta (verified) account. Processing timelines are up to 8 weeks but may be shorter than that depending on volume. 
  • Financial Aid staff will enter your details and you will receive an access code via email from the province.
  • Do not quit your job; there are penalties for such actions as leaving employment and other restrictions). If you are employed beyond what is allowed a program employee will contact you to discuss options that will not affect your eligibility.
  • Funded students are expected to attend classes and progress in them. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of funding. Students may be expected to repay funds to the government if they don't meet these expectations.
  • You can find the guidelines at Foundational Learning Application

Please note that the allocation we receive is limited and that funding is not guaranteed - we have no control over eligibility restrictions on the part of the province

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 could not have planned for that you would be able to cover within four weeks but need to pay right now, Lethbridge College is ready to help. For a $15 fee (repayable along with the balance in four weeks), the College may lend you a reasonable amount for that short term. The amount is based on the need, and documentation may be required but there is a maximum of $750.

To be considered for any emergency 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 their current financial need is a direct result of unforeseeable circumstances and that short-term financial support is required in order for them to continue studies at Lethbridge College
  • For emergency loans, be able to demonstrate how you will repay the loan within 4 weeks
  • International students must have completed their first year of studies; tuition is not considered an unforeseeable/emergency situation

If you are facing an unforeseeable 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. This is once-in-a-student-lifetime support restricted to emergencies.

 

Please note that applications for the Lethbridge College Bursary are accepted anytime.

The fund is limited so it is restricted to those:

  • Who have done all that they can to access other supports (such as full student loans, employment, family)
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Who arrived with a solid plan for their academic/financial journey

Applicants who have not met these requirements will not be considered but may be provided financial advice.

International students are more likely to be considered when they are in their final year of studies as they are expected to arrive prepared for a full year of expenses.

Successful applicants will receive an email informing them of the decision. 

Contact awards@lethbridgecollege.ca to request an application or further information.

 

Get on top of your finances BEFORE you attend.

School can be stressful.

Managing your student loan and/or employment and school is a lot.

Trying to manage pre-existing debt on top of all that will exacerbate stress.

It is best to make sure that you have paid off any credit card/ lines of credit/ consumer debts before you start school.

You are encouraged to stop by anytime to discuss how you will manage your finances during school - we have lots of advice and tips!

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).

Great resources that can help:

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, constitute. 

The College also offers this tool:

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.