Think it's impossible to get free tuition in Canada, or at least something close to it?
While it's tempting to start booking your flight to somewhere in the world that does offer free tuition for its citizens, it may not be financially practical. With that in mind, we compiled a list of tips to achieve the same (or, at least, a semblance of) free access to postsecondary education right here in Canada.
1. Get a full ride
Do you think academic-based scholarships are only reserved for U.S. students? Think again. Some schools are offering Canadian students significant rewards for achieving certain admission grades, enough to make even Americans jealous. For example, if you're graduating high school with a 95 per cent academic average (or higher), Lakehead University gives you a free ride through your entire first year. And, if you can keep up a 90 per cent average while there, you can extend that free ride all the way through your entire university degree.
While Lakehead is the only school to offer a full ride through tuition, many other postsecondary schools offer incredible entrance scholarships as well. For instance, Tyndale University offers incoming students up to $5,000 in entrance scholarships, while Algoma University offers up to $4,000 and, King's University College, up to $3,500.
2. Change your province of residence
Studying in Quebec or Newfoundland and Labrador won't exactly score you free tuition, but you'll automatically get an average of 50 per cent off your studies when compared to the rest of Canada. Canucks, on average, pay approximately $6,373 in tuition a year, while students in these provinces pay about half that — totalling to under $3,000. The difference is even larger when compared to tuition in a province like Ontario, coming in at a whopping average cost of over $8,100.
Not all scholarships are made exclusively for students with crazy high grades or extracurricular schedules.
3. Financial aid
As of this year, if your parents earn less than $70,000 per year, OSAP gets you free tuition. Simple as that. However, if your parents happen to earn more than that, you could still qualify for thousands of dollars in assistance. If you aren't based in Ontario, look into your own province's student assistance program, since it most likely offers substantial help for financing tuition, too. StudentAidBC, Alberta Student Aid, Student Financial Assistance in Quebec, and couple other organizations have similar missions to OSAP, for example.
4. Don't forget non-academic scholarships (seriously)
Remember, not all scholarships are made exclusively for students with crazy high grades or extracurricular schedules. For example, some scholarships are made specifically for environment students, and others for athletes.
To put it into perspective, you could potentially earn a higher hourly rate applying to scholarships than at a minimum wage job. Taking 10 hours to apply for a few $500 scholarships could be worth it, even if you win just one of them.
5. Free tuition giveaways
If applying for scholarships isn't your cup of tea, try entering free tuition contests or any other contests that can win you money. For example, several colleges and universities are giving away thousands of dollars in free tuition to students. No essays or application required. Other organizations, like Student Life Network, are also giving away massive student giveaways. Universities themselves even offer free perks (including tuition or travel money) for doing simple things like visiting their campus.
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