By Shirley Delorme Russell, Financial Aid and Awards Coordinator, Louis Riel Institute
There are four basic sources of money for school:
- Student Loans
- Internal Awards
- External Awards
Student loans can come from the government or the banks and it has to be paid back.
Government loans (Manitoba and Canada Student Loans):
- Don’t have to be paid back until after you graduate and generally have a much lower interest rate
- Are only paid out once or twice a year
- You automatically apply for various grants (money you don’t have to pay back) at the same time
- Have to be paid back regularly and have higher interest rates
- Are available all the time (As long as you have money left!)
- Bank loans do not have any grants
Funding is when you get a regular living allowance, plus tuition and books. Funding comes from an organization. In the case of First Nations students it may come from their bands, Métis students may get it from the MMF. Other students may get it from EI. Funding does not have to be paid back. It varies according to student need, financial ability of the organization and other criteria.
These are the scholarships and bursaries that are only available to students at a particular school.
If you are a UW student, only you can apply for UW awards, all UM awards are off limits to you. Same goes for BU students, you can only apply for BU awards, no ACC awards. That said, there are gazillions of internal awards!
Go to your school’s website and search financial aid and awards. This will bring you to the awards site. Read it; find everything you are eligible for. Find your schools awards office, browse the brochures, and take everything you are eligible for. Ask if there is a booklet of awards or any coming up right away. Take it all and circle EVERYTHING you are eligible for. And then apply! For all of it!
This is the whole wide rest of the world of awards. There are millions. These awards are specific to students, not to schools, although in some cases they will only be for students at certain schools. There are a million of these and it can be tricky to find them. There will be posters and brochures about this in your awards office. Try advisor’s offices, Aboriginal student centres and student associations.
Both of these websites are databases. You sign up for them and enter information about yourself such as school, program, year, grades, extracurricular, ethnicity; basically anything that might be award criteria. Then the website will search its database and bring up a list of awards you might be eligible for. It will then send you regular updates by email about new awards. All you have to do is update your information every once in a while.
Shirley is a Voices Alumni and University of Winnipeg Graduate.