The first step to building a budget is estimating how much money you're likely to have available to you. Some of the most common ways that students finance their education include:
- Their own savings
- Parental/familial contributions & RESPs
- Employment income from both part-time and summer work
- Scholarships and financial aid from the University
- Government aid
- Other funding sources (Bank loans, lines of credit, external awards)
Once you have the approximate amounts you will receive from each source, it's time to start using the Frugal Scholar Toolkit. Enter the amounts into lines 5-10 of Tab 1: the Budget Pie Guidelines. This will give you the total amount you have to work with, or your Total Resources. The next step is to calculate your costs.
Do you have savings and/or familial help but are not sure yet if you need to explore other avenues? Not to worry: Just enter those amounts in the Frugal Scholar Toolkit and keep following the steps. It will soon be clear if you need to look into scholarships and/or financial aid in order to cover all your costs.
Parental/familial contribution & RESPs
Depending on the family's finances, students may receive some financial support from their parents or relatives for school. In fact, government financial aid programs calculate and assume an expected parental contribution for dependent students based on family income.
For some students, this help may come in the form of a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) which was set up for them by parents or relatives. General information about RESPs is available on the federal government's Canlearn website, and Student Records provides information about how to have your RESP forms completed by Enrolment Services.
Parents looking for more information about helping their children through school should refer to our Financial Roadmap for Parents.
What if my parents can't help?
For students applying for government aid from Quebec or another province, the government may reconsider the expected parental contribution if there are exceptional circumstances. Such exceptional circumstances could include family breakdown or a reduction in parental income due to loss of employment or illness. If you think you have grounds to have your expected parental contribution re-considered by your government financial aid program, contact us and ask to meet with a Financial Aid Counsellor.
Working part-time is a great way to help finance your education. McGill has on-campus work programs for both domestic and international students. Find out more on the Work Study Program.
Working during your summer breaks can make a significant difference in your financial situation. Visit the Work Study Program and the McGill University Career Planning Service website for job search advice and resources. If you are from out of town, consider moving home for the summer while subletting your Montreal apartment. You'll thank yourself later when you have less debt to repay after graduation!
Scholarships and Financial Aid programs
Apply for all scholarships and awards for which you are eligible. In addition to McGill awards, you should explore other funding opportunities, including potential awards offered by your employer or your parents' employers. Your citizenship, special skills, club affiliations, extracurricular activities and cultural or religious affiliations may also enable you to access non-repayable awards.
Need-based Financial Aid
McGill's wide range of Financial Aid programs help to ensure that no qualified full-time student in a degree program, regardless of geographic origin, will be prevented from starting or continuing their studies for financial reasons alone.
McGill also administers Government Student Loans & Bursaries, designed to supplement your resources. We can help you determine which federal/provincial program applies to you.
Please note: The Student Aid Office is committed to helping you, but it is your responsibility to meet important deadlines and requirements. Government aid applications should be submitted by June 15th to ensure assessment in time for start of term. Ensure all required supporting documentation is sent on a timely basis to avoid delays.
Tuition Payment Deferral
Students who are unable to pay their tuition by the due date should find out if they are eligible for a Tuition Deferral in order to avoid associated penalties and interest charges.