Paying for University

A Financial Options Checklist

Educational costs can be challenging. The good news is there are lots of options available to help you manage expenses and reduce costs while having a great university experience. Below is a list of funding options you will want to look into to help finance your educational costs.

Existing Funds

These are resources you already have, including savings, investments, gifts, etc.

Family Contributions

Other family members may be able to lend or gift you money to assist with your education.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) An investment plan used by parents and/or caregivers to save for their learner's post-secondary education.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

Students enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies for at least three months of the year can make tax-free withdrawals from RRSPs of up to $10,000 per year up to a maximum of $20,000 over four years. Repayments must be made over 10 years, starting the year after the last year of your enrollment or six years after the first withdrawal (whichever comes first).


Review your assets and determine what you could potentially sell off to use funds for your education.


Save funds from summer and/or part-time jobs. Check out VIU's on-campus student jobs and off-campus student employment. The Canada Summer Jobs program is another way to earn work experience and funds for youth between 15 and 30 years old.

Higher Ed Points

Through Higher Ed Points, students can use anyone's loyalty points to fund tuition and student loans.

Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

The Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries program, coordinated through the Financial Aid and Awards office, provides financial assistance, incentives and rewards to eligible students. You must complete your profile each year between early September and March 30, as information is not brought forward annually.

Learn more about Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries.

External Awards

External awards include scholarships, awards and bursaries that are available to all students through agencies unaffiliated with VIU. Our categorized list of external awards contains more than $21.2 million in funding to help minimize student debt. A lot of times, scholarships are not given out because many don't apply. Don't miss out as this is a great (and possible) way to fund your education!

Learn more about External Awards.

Bank Loans

Many financial institutions offer student lines of credit.

Student Loans and Grants

The federal government is doubling Canada Student Grants via the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program (formerly Canada Student Loans Program) until July 31, 2023. Grants are non-repayable awards, which means that you do not need to pay them back.

Students applying for student aid to study at BC public post-secondary institutions will automatically be assessed for these non-repayable grants.

BC Residents can apply for student loans at StudentAid BC. If you are not a BC Resident, you can apply for a student loan through the province in which you are a resident.

Loan applications are typically available beginning June 1 of each year and usually take 4-6 weeks to process, so ensure that you apply early.

Canada Learning Bond

The Canada Learning Bond helps you start saving for your child's education after high school. For more information,

Student Loan Estimators

The Canada Student Financial Assistance Program has custom planners and estimators to help you figure out how much school will cost, how much you could receive in government loans to pay for school and how much you might have to pay back when you are done. The types of estimator tools include:

  • Education Savings Calculator Parental Contribution Calculator
  • Student Financial Assistance Estimator Loan Repayment Estimator
  • Repayment Assistance Estimator

Former Youth in Care

Youth who have aged out of care and are attending Vancouver Island University can apply for two tuition waiver programs: the BC Tuition Waiver Program and the Vancouver Island University Tuition Waiver Program. To apply for the Tuition Waiver Program, ensure that you have chosen your academic program and follow up with a VIU Recruiter or email to review application steps.

For more information and to review other funding options for Former Youth in Care, check out Youth Aged out of Care Funding.

Financial Aid and Awards

The VIU Financial Aid and Awards Office is committed to supporting students in their search for financial assistance including provincial and federal loans, grants, internal and external scholarships, awards and bursaries.

Got questions? Email

Other Services

Transitioning to university is a big step. Check out some of the supports VIU offers to make your transition here as smooth as possible.

Academic Advising

Students may want to see an Academic Advisor

to discover, plan and work toward their educational goals. Students can achieve a more fulfilling educational experience through an advising relationship. Academic Advisors are available to answer questions or steer students in the right direction when questions arise.

Contact an Academic Advisor at

Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services provide information, support services and reasonable accommodation to students with documented disabilities.

For more information, email


VIU counsellors are available for counselling in person, by phone, and by Zoom. This is a free service to VIU students.

Services for Aboriginal Students

Services for Aboriginal Students provides culturally appropriate services to Indigenous students with one-on-one in-person appointments, phone calls and emails for: advising, first level counselling, financial aid, scholarships, funding options, career counselling, daycare and housing.

For more information email

Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement

Indigenous Education Navigators are here to provide outreach to new and current Indigenous students to create seamless transitions into Vancouver Island University.

Download the print copy

The Financial Options Checklist is available in a print-friendly PDF version. 

Print the Financial Options Checklist