Finding funds for university students

By Raven Nyman

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

If you’re a student, I don’t need to tell you how expensive it is to get a post-secondary education.

And if you’re currently living and studying here in the Lower Mainland, well, may the force be with you. Finding the means to afford accommodation, tuition, textbooks, groceries, and other living expenses in one of the priciest cities across the globe is definitely not easy.

However, it is feasible. Thousands of young people are managing to do it right here in Vancouver.

Still, it seems that students are always looking to make an extra buck, especially those of us who were not privileged enough to enjoy a free-ride via the Parental College-fund Express.

Even then, there is always need. With that in mind, let’s explore a few of the ways that students can make money while attending university.


For this first—and most obvious—option, you needn’t look beyond your very own campus. The opportunities to find part or full-time work at your university itself are limitless.

Of course, not everyone will be able to fit work into their academic scheduling. However, in my experience, your university likely has at least one option that will suit your needs.

Whether it’s note-taking, serving in the cafeteria, or acting as a research assistant, employment opportunities on campus range from entry-level positions to esteemed learning experiences that can spruce up your resume.

Tutoring is another option that can be explored privately or via an established organization to gain both experience and cash. Check out research opportunities on campus, too.

Posters for these can be found all over your university and are usually coupled with the need for paid student subjects. Now that might sound kind of creepy, but don’t worry! These studies range from merely watching videos to taking a few simple tests, so they’re worth consideration.

Off campus, there are plenty of other ways to make money. If you’ve got a bike or car, delivery riders are always needed in the city. You can make a few extra bucks and get your exercise at the same time.

You might even use your networking skills to offer babysitting services, or start up your own dog-walking business. Freelancing is another option: from writing to working on graphic design, the opportunities are endless.

If you have the skills, experience, and a bit of time to make it happen, why not? And if you’re really stuck for cash, try online surveys, mystery shopping, or paid website and music reviews.

A quick Google search will lead you in the right direction if this is something that interests you. You could always head for the big screen as a TV or film extra, too. The opportunities are certainly there; all you’ve got to do is look.


Now, the first two should be your target since you won’t have to pay them back. Winning scholarships, bursaries, or other financial awards equals money you get to keep.

This is where volunteer work, leadership experience, extracurricular activities and overall academic achievement can seriously pay off. Sure, if you’re after the big awards you’ll need to put in a lot of work in a variety of areas and that means additional time and effort.

However, maintaining a high GPA in university can be enough; post-secondary institutions often reward those in the top five to ten percent of their faculty with financial awards that may even be renewable.

That means staying on the Dean’s List will give you a great chance at receiving a bit of financial help directly from your university. The best part is that these kind of awards require no application whatsoever. All you’ve got to do is keep your grades up, and wait for a congratulatory message in your inbox.

Still, universities are full of high achievers, which means that there’s certainly not enough money to go around. With that said, it’s important to remain diligent in researching and applying for any and all scholarships that you might be eligible for. Students are often surprised to find just how much money they missed out on simply because they didn’t realize it was available to them.

Student loans, on the other hand, must be repaid. Some of us will be lucky enough to avoid them all together, while others will need them every year of their degree, and some students might only apply for a single year of funding.

Each of us is differen and the need for a student loan will depend on a variety of factors. Reasoning aside, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking aid from the government to fund your education, so this should always be an option worth exploring.

Working full-time each summer, keeping a part-time job during the school year, and applying for bursaries and scholarships can definitely help you to avoid long-term debt. And if that means still having to pay off a year or two of student loans, well it’s certainly better than paying off four or five years of debt, isn’t it?

Working hard to fund your education—for yourself—is something to be fiercely proud of. And I can guarantee, if you’re willing to put in the work, then you’re sure to get the pay off.