Kevin is a second year undergraduate student from a BC First Nations community that is providing funding for his engineering degree at UBC. As a sponsored student, Kevin may already have some of the primary funding necessary to cover both his education costs and living expenses. However, band funding can come in many different forms and, depending on the amount of coverage, students may need to supplement their sponsorship with other resources. In Kevin’s case, he is receiving funding from his band for just his tuition as well as his on-campus housing costs for four years.
Although Kevin has a solid foundation for his finances, he’s decided to take advantage of other funding opportunities at UBC since he will need to pay for other things including books, student fees, food and other non-housing living costs which his band is not covering.
Kevin’s Funding Profile:
Kevin decided to participate in UBC’s Work Study program which allows him to work on-campus and save both time and money by not having to commute to his workplace. Since Work Study jobs pay well (anywhere from $13 to over $20 an hour) and only require 10 hours or less per week, which are always scheduled around a student’s class times, Kevin can focus on his studies and not have to worry about overworking himself to come up with the money he needs.
Since Kevin’s band isn’t covering all of his costs, he decided to look into student loans and was surprised to discover that not all students receiving sponsorship are necessarily excluded from this type of funding. He found out that students apply through their home province, and since Kevin is from BC, he applied online at StudentAid BC and received an assessment within two weeks. By applying before July 31st, UBC gave Kevin a one-month deferment on his tuition deadline for each term, giving him plenty of time before classes started in September to sort out any problems with his application.
Kevin was worried at first about having to repay his loan right after graduation, especially since he doesn’t know if he will have a job right away to pay it back. It came as a relief to him to learn that part of the money the government was giving him was a grant that he did not have to repay. He also learned that part of his loan came from the province but that most of it (60%) came from the federal government, who this year started a new Repayment Assistance Program that only requires borrowers to pay back what they can afford. If Kevin has difficulty finding work after he finishes school, he may not have to make any payments for his federal loans until he has an income. For his BC loans, there is a loan reduction program that Kevin is automatically considered for if he successfully completes each year of his studies.
Students coming to UBC from outside of British Columbia should apply for student loans through their home province. Further information can be found at the following locations:
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Kevin has three siblings and the costs of university together with family expenses quickly add up. One of the benefits of applying early for his student loan is that he knew exactly what he was receiving and approximately how much he would be short – or what the government calls “unmet need” on his assessment. Applying for student loans and having unmet need may allow Kevin to be eligible for UBC’s General Bursary Program, which is designed to help alleviate some of his unmet need. By registering for classes early he also ensured that enrolment for his loan could be confirmed before the same September 15th deadline as the online General Bursary application on the Student Service Centre website. As with all bursaries, these are funds that Kevin won’t have to pay back.
When Kevin was trying to choose between the different programs he could study at UBC, he noticed some programs, like Engineering, offer cooperative education that integrates a student’s academic studies with relevant, paid work experience. He liked the flexibility of being able to alternate between study and full-time work terms as well as the chance to do valuable, paid work with approved industry organizations.
Since he is also taking out a student loan, Kevin was careful to make sure that he reported his co-op earnings on his student loan application and also spoke to his band ahead of time to see how this type of income might affect his sponsorship funding.
As an Aboriginal student, Kevin applied for these awards that include both scholarships (based on grades) and bursaries (based on financial need). They require a paper application form that he filled out when it became available in March and he made sure that it was submitted well before the June 30th deadline. Kevin found the process fairly easy – all he had to do was read the short descriptions of the awards and put a checkmark next to the ones he felt he was eligible for, and provide proof of his Aboriginal heritage (Status Indian Card, Metis Card or formal letter from a recognized organization).
Since these two paper applications also become available for download in March and have the same June 30th deadline as the Aboriginal Awards application, Kevin decided to apply for them at the same time so that he wouldn’t forget to cover all of his funding bases. The Affiliation Bursaries Program considers a student’s financial need as well as their affiliation or ties to an organization, an industry, or individual characteristics and background depending on the particular award. The Affiliation Scholarship Program also looks at a student’s affiliations but instead of financial need, it considers a student’s grades.
Kevin read through the award descriptions to see what he was eligible for and was sure to indicate on the application the ones he wanted to apply for. He knew that he wouldn’t be eligible for all of the awards listed but he also heard that many people who would be eligible tend to forget to apply and the applicant pool is usually smaller for these applications, increasing his chances of being selected.
Kevin didn’t limit his search for funding options to just UBC. His research told him that money was available from donors outside of the university. He looked at a number of websites that keep track of these awards and their various deadlines, including StudentAwards.com and Scholarships Canada. He also found many scholarships especially for Aboriginal students on the Aboriginal Learning Links site.
Just like the Affiliation Bursaries and Scholarships program, Kevin heard that some of these scholarships and bursaries sometimes go unawarded or have very few applicants since some students make the assumption that they aren’t eligible and don’t bother to apply.
As an Aboriginal student, band funding was the first thing that came to mind for Kevin when he thought about how to finance his education. Depending on the band, sponsorship can cover some things and not others. One common type Kevin received is band funding for tuition, otherwise known as Third-Party Billing. It’s really a process between your band office and UBC Financial Services (not to be confused with the Student Financial Assistance and Awards office) but being involved by making sure the proper steps are followed is often a wise idea.
Two key things to remember about band sponsorship: always be aware of any deadlines that your band office has as well as those at UBC Financial Services (see third-party billing site) Secondly, pay close attention to the type of sponsorship you are actually receiving.
In Kevin’s example, he is receiving band funding for four years of on-campus housing. Kevin would want to know from his band whether he would still be funded if he chose to live off-campus. He is participating in the engineering co-op program and may need an additional year to finish his degree. Would his band be willing to fund his fifth and last year, or would he be ineligible? It’s always a good idea to ask questions if you aren’t clear.