Students, I know this summer is likely not shaping up the way you’d expected. Your regular jobs and internships may not be available, or they’ve changed dramatically because of COVID-19. Chances are you were relying on that income to help pay tuition and other costs for the fall 2020 semester.
Here are four smart money moves you can make to ease the financial burden of 2020.
Apply for government support if you can’t find work for the summer
New support for students (and recent graduates) was announced last week because too many students were falling through the cracks of the government’s financial aid package. You’re now eligible for $1,250 per month from May to August through the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, and that sum can go up to $1,750 per month if you are taking care of someone or you have a disability. The Canada Revenue Agency will be administering the program.
If you had firm plans for summer employment that are no longer possible because of COVID-19, and you earned $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months, you may be eligible to receive CERB, which provides $2,000 per month in emergency relief for up to four months.
It’s scholarship season for the next six weeks. Apply!
I’m a huge advocate for scholarships, grants and bursaries. As someone who has benefited from scholarships — 30 per cent of my education (two degrees) was funded by scholarships — I’m a believer that the reward is well worth the effort.
Here’s the ridiculous part; millions of dollars in scholarship money remains unclaimed because students don’t bother applying (insert scream emoji here). When asked why, students believe the application processes are much harder than they are, and that only highly specialized areas of study or “edge case” applications get approved. The fact is, those only account for 30 per cent of scholarships available in Canada. Other noteworthy news is that the government has announced expanded funding for its student granting programs, which means even more money!
If you’re a student with time on your hands because of quarantine, start applying.
With close to 100,000 awards, ScholarshipsCanada.com is Canada’s most popular scholarship search engine. It has scholarships for every level of student, from high school to mature students. Optimize your search by creating an account and making a detailed personal profile. The search engine will match you with scholarships that fit your profile. Other general scholarship search engines are StudentAwards.com, and ScholarTree.ca. Students with a disability can search DisabilityAwards.ca. Indigenous students can use the Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool and AboriginalStudents.ca. Certain local awards are best found via a Google search, and tap your LinkedIn network for leads.
Most scholarships require an essay and the purpose is to get to know you as a person, so get personal. What’s important to you? What have you learned from your experiences? How will you use that learning in the future? Follow the directions exactly or you risk being disqualified.
Take advantage of the expanded Summer Jobs Program
Seventy thousand jobs are being made available for young people this summer through the Canada Summer Jobs Program. These positions will be predominantly in essential services and the skill sets for each position will vary considerably. All positions will be posted in the Job Bank. The Job Bank also has a mobile app students can download to their phones. There won’t be any risk of employers not being able to pay for these positions because the government will be funding them 100 per cent. Positions start the second week of May, so don’t delay in applying!
Volunteer to fight COVID-19
In an effort to mobilize the power of students, grants toward education costs will be available to those who volunteer to help stop the pandemic rather than work this summer. The grants are between $1,000 to $5,000. Details around eligibility and how to apply will be rolling out in the next few weeks.
Being in school right now amidst the crisis, and as we weather this wildly uncertain economy, is probably a good thing. Focus on your studies. Keep mentally, physically and financially fit. We need your strength and fresh ideas to recover from this crisis.