08/28/2013 12:19 EDT | Updated 10/26/2013 05:12 EDT

5 Ways Students Can Access up to $15 Million In Unclaimed Funding

There are various reports about the amount of scholarship and bursary money that goes unclaimed each year. Some reports suggest that it could be over $15 million. While the exact number is hard to quantify, the point is there are millions of dollars that can be leveraged towards your future education. But where is the money, and how can you find it?

1. Family Employers (Parents, aunts, uncles, siblings)

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, scholarships, and grants for their employees. However, these programs aren't always marketed very well, so the onus is on students and their parents to ask what they are eligible for from their employer. Further, I know of companies who provide up to $500 for extended family members as well, so students shouldn't be afraid to ask their aunts and uncles.

2. Your School's Financial Aid Office

Schools across Canada have various opportunities for students to claim money, however sometimes it is difficult to find. Less than one third of students ever set foot in their school's financial aid office - the same place that houses millions in financial opportunities. Many students rely only on online tools and websites, however many schools have dated software which can make scholarships and bursaries difficult to find online. The best bet is to visit the financial aid office and speak to someone about your needs; they know what is available and are there to help students.

3. Student Help Web Sites

There are several student help websites like ours at that help students find and save money for school. I encourage students to visit and use all of them as this will only maximize their opportunity to find the money and opportunities they need. All of these web sites are designed to help students.

4. Search for Financial Opportunities 365 Days a Year

Most people think that scholarships and bursaries are only available at the beginning of the school year or term, which is a myth. Financial opportunities are available twelve months of the year and if students continue to look, they will have a much better opportunity to source funds because most of their classmates will have stopped looking.

5. Keep Searching For Your Whole Academic Career

Another myth amongst students is that scholarship and grant opportunities are only for when they enter their first year in school. This is completely false as there are millions of dollars available for second, third or fourth year students. Heck, there are even opportunities for those students who are taking a gap year to work or travel. How good is that, getting a scholarship to backpack across Europe!

If you're a student, you now know where to look; the rest is up to you.

As always, your comments and feedback are encouraged and appreciated.

Until my next post.