Types of expenses
On top of tuition, there are additional costs to studying. It's important to understand all of the fees associated with your studies to ensure that you are prepared ahead of time. There are three types of fees that you can expect to pay: tuition fees, student fees, and additional fees.
The tuition will tell you approximately how much your program is going to cost you but it’s important to know that this does not include all your fees. You can find tuition estimates for programs in the Search section on a program page. Costs can vary greatly due to the institution, program choice and the courses that you take.
All institutions have student fees that are used to support student services, athletics/recreation, transit (U-Pass BC), and health and medical insurance.
Additional fees are based on your chosen program and course selection and may include books, art supplies, lab, co-op, field trip fees, work equipment and tools. Refer to the institution’s website and the program pages for a detailed breakdown of all costs associated with your studies. You can also use StudentAid BC's Education Budget Worksheet to start planning how much money you will need for your post-secondary education.
It’s important to consider your living options. Are you wanting to stay close to home and if so, will you be living there? If you decide you want to move away from home, you'll need to consider accommodations. Will you live in on-campus housing, or will you rent an apartment or house? Don’t forget to include expenses like electricity, phone, internet, as well as food, transportation, and entertainment. Take the time to understand your expenses and make a realistic budget as part of your planning.
Books & Supplies
Some programs only require you to purchase books, while others will require you to purchase tools, work boots, art supplies or specialized computer software. Used textbooks can be a way to significantly reduce student textbook costs. You can often buy used textbooks at your institution’s bookstore. Open textbooks are available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public. They are an affordable, flexible alternative to buying new textbooks. Visit B.C. Open Textbooks to see if the textbook you need is available.
Types of financial supports
It’s important to do your research. There are many funding options that are available to help you pay for your post-secondary studies.
A scholarship is a type of financial aid awarded to students to help pay for their education. Scholarships are typically based on academic merit, financial need, or a combination of both, and are usually provided by schools, organizations, or private individuals. Scholarships do not need to be repaid. View a list of some scholarships available through government organizations below.
A bursary is a type of financial aid awarded to students to help pay for their education. Bursaries are typically based on financial need, and are often provided by schools, government agencies, or private organizations. Like scholarships, bursaries do not need to be repaid.
A grant is non-repayable financial assistance – money that you will not have to pay back. Like scholarships, grants have specific qualifications and each one is a bit different. Make sure you read the requirements to see if you are eligible. Grants are available for full- and part-time students, students with disabilities, low- and middle-income students, adult upgrading, and more.
Discover over 400 programs that are now eligible for the StrongerBC future skills grant.
Full-time student funding
If you are a full-time student, enrolled in at least 60% of a full-time course load, you are eligible to apply for a student loan. B.C. offers Canada-B.C. integrated student loans, meaning there are two lenders, the governments of Canada and B.C. and the interest is paid by both governments while you are attending school full-time. Repayment of the student loan will begin six months after your studies end.
Part-time student funding
If you are studying part-time, you may be eligible for the federal part-time student loan program. It’s important to note that the assessment for part-time students is different than for full-time students and does not cover living costs. It allows for: tuition, books, supplies, transportation and childcare up to the funding maximums.
Provincial tuition waiver program
Did you know some post-secondary institutions offer application waiver codes to eligible students? If you’re a youth from care, Indigenous learner, or in need of financial assistance, you may be eligible for having the tuition and mandatory fees charged by your institution could be waived so that you do not have to pay.
Find more information here.
You can view a full list of available grants, scholarships, and other non-repayable financial supports on StudentAid BC’s website or on your institution’s financial aid website.
StrongerBC future skills grant
EducationPlannerBC is pleased to support the Government of BC's StrongerBC Future Ready Action Plan. The StrongerBC future skills grant is open to British Columbians aged 19 years or older – regardless of financial need – and covers up to $3,500 per person for eligible short-term skills training at public post-secondary institutions. Discover over 400 eligible programs.
Here is a list of some scholarships available through government organizations. There are many other scholarships available through your community, school, or work. Do your own research or talk to your high school counsellor to learn about other opportunities.
Program & student-specific
- BC General Employees’ Union - National Union of Public and General Employees
- Pacific Leaders scholarships for children of public servants
- Registered Nurses Foundation of BC
- Registered Psychiatric Nurses Foundation
- Ontario College of Teachers
- Ministry of Education Pathway to Teacher Education scholarship
- Canadian Mental Health Association
Financial Aid & Awards Offices
For more information about the financial support available at a post-secondary institution, explore their website or contact them directly.
Financial Aid & Awards Offices
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Camosun College
- Capilano University
- Coast Mountain College
- College of New Caledonia
- College of the Rockies
- Douglas College
- Emily Carr University of Art and Design
- Justice Institute of British Columbia
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- Langara College
- Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
- North Island College
- Northern Lights College
- Okanagan College
- Royal Roads University
- Selkirk College
- Simon Fraser University
- Thompson Rivers University
- University of British Columbia
- University of Northern British Columbia
- University of the Fraser Valley
- University of Victoria
- Vancouver Community College
- Vancouver Island University