Does the thought of paying for your children’s continuing education make you break out into a cold sweat?https://studentaid.alberta.ca/

Between tuition, books, student housing and living expenses, the costs associated with post-secondary school in Calgary can take a toll on your wallet. Regardless, you likely realize that higher education is a sound investment in your children’s future and are willing to do what it takes to ensure they receive the quality instruction they deserve.

The good news is that parents and students have several options when it comes to paying for post-secondary education in Calgary. Whether your children are interested in going to college or a private vocational school, here are three strategies to help cover the cost of their academic future:

1. Start saving early
Consider opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as soon as your little bundles of joy enter the world. There are several programs available to choose from, so make sure to speak to your financial adviser about the best option for you. Once your children graduate from high school and enroll in an approved post-secondary program, they can withdraw money to help pay for school. One bonus: the federal government will match contributions made through the Canada Educations Savings Grant, contributing an extra 20% to a maximum of $500 per year—but the trick is to start early!

2. Encourage your children to contribute
Once your children are well into their teen years, talk to them about finding a part-time or summer job, and encourage them to set a portion of their paycheque aside to help pay for books or other school-related expenses. Many Canadian families don’t make enough money to fully fund their children’s post-secondary education, so the added help is sometimes necessary. Advise your children to open a tax-free savings account (TFSA) where they can make regular contributions until they enter that new chapter in their lives. When your children personally invest in their future, they’re much more likely to put the maximum amount of effort into their studies. Furthermore, having a job teaches a child responsibility and important life lessons—like balancing priorities—that will serve them well in their academic career.

3. Research alternative funding options
Both federal and provincial governments offer monetary assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, bursaries and loans to help alleviate students and their families from the financial burden that comes with post-secondary studies. Scholarships, grants and bursaries are awarded based on merit and financial need, and do not need to be repaid after graduation. The government of Alberta also offers several financial aid programs designed to help prospective students pay for their post-secondary studies. However, heavy reliance on loans can rack up debt and delay financial independence after graduation. Make sure your children fully understand the implications of taking out a loan before doing so.

Do your kids talk about pursuing an enriching career in the animal or healthcare fields? Perhaps you’re interested in following a new career path? Alberta Business & Educational Services (ABES) is a reputable, private vocational school in Calgary that provides adult learners with superior hands-on medical training to prepare them for a brighter future.

Not sure you have the financial means? Our on-site advisers are committed to helping students access grants and funding opportunities. Contact us for more information!