9 Ways to Pay for Your First Year at College

When I decided to go to Briercrest and pursue further education I had already spent a year doing full-time work.

I had saved up nearly $6,000 from work and had a scholarship worth $1,500 from my high school grades. And I thought, "This should be enough, right?" Little to say, I was a tad naïve.

The total cost for a year at Briercrest is [roughly $17,710 (updated Jan 2022)]. I needed some additional help.

Thankfully, there are more than just two ways to pay for school. In fact, our average student uses four sources to pay for their schooling.

 Here are nine ways to make Christian higher education a reality (you probably have access to at least four!).

How to fund your first year of college

Personal savings

Martin Frohm: “What would you say if a man walked in here with no shirt, and I hired him?”

Christopher Gardner: “He must have had on some really nice pants.” — The Pursuit of Happyness

If you are like me, you may have had a small stash of cash kicking around from summer jobs. This is a great time for you to bust out the hammer and break that piggy open.

Family members

"Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind." — Lilo and Stitch

I know it’s tough to ask your parents for help, but it's worth the conversation. Pro tip: clean the dishes, vacuum the house, sweep the garage, and then mosey into the living room with a hot cup of coffee to remind them how much they love you.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

"I was hiding under the porch because I love you" — Doug the Dog, Up

Maybe your parents started putting away a little "somethin' somethin'" when you were born for a day like today. It’s true what they say, the early bird does get the worm. In this case, the worm could be thousands of dollars towards your education.

Student loans

“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.” — Ogden Nash 

Student loans are a great way to make up the difference between what you have saved and what you still need to pay. Applications for student loans open online mid-May to mid-June for the upcoming academic year, and you can apply for them once you have applied to college.

Student loans are a great option for students. In fact, 50% of Briercrest students use them! However, if you are going to use them, make sure you know the cost. The money you receive needs to be paid back with interest, so it is generally best to keep the amount of student loans you take to a minimum.

To find out the amount you can receive, check out our cost estimator.

Government grants

"Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? No pockets." — Jerry Seinfeld

Although there are no good quotes that fit with government grants, they are a huge benefit to your bank account. These are different from student loans in that you get to keep all the money granted to you.

The Government of Canada offers up to $3,000 per year to students in need of financial assistance. Find out if you qualify.

Briercrest scholarships

"Be a student as long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” — Henry L. Doherty

There are a number of Briercrest scholarships, awards, and bursaries up for grabs.

Though some scholarships and awards are based on grades, not all of them are! Quite a few awards are based on your involvement in your home church, camp, or other volunteer positions.

The deadline to apply for scholarships and awards is April 30th, 2023. So what are you waiting for? Potential. Free. Money!

Camp and church scholarships

"God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile." — Max Lucado

 A large percentage of Briercrest students spend their summers working at camps both locally and abroad. Often, camps will support their staff in their desire to pursue a Christian education by offering scholarships on the condition that you return to camp next summer. This is so worth it! Ask your camp director and pastor about scholarships for Christian higher education.

Public scholarships

No quote, just resources. Sometimes you just got to cut straight to it. Here are two great resources to explore public scholarships that you can apply to any school!

Get a job!

“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.” — Dory, Finding Nemo

Whether on campus or off-campus, finding a part-time job can help pay for those late-night McDonald's runs, textbooks, and the countless espresso shots you "need" to get through your papers.

Many of my friends worked in Moose Jaw waiting tables, lifeguarding, and serving in local group homes.

In Caronport, lots of students work with our catering company, Sodexo, as well as with our maintenance department and athletic facilities. And if you got brains, which I know you do, then consider being a high school tutor with Briercrest Christian Academy!

Understanding Student Finances

Believe me, even with all these options, paying for school, let alone a private Christian school can be a challenge. But it is worth every penny. Having the privilege of studying at a school that valued my faith, future, and friendships was worth the extra cost and more.


Adam McNeil

Graduating from Briercrest College in 2019 as Student Body President with his B.A. in Business, Adam now works alongside students across Canada to help them find life at Briercrest. Alongside his passion for Briercrest, Adam McNeil internationally competes at catching a ball on a cup (not even a joke), consumes copious amounts of hipster coffee, and loves to share the Gospel at summer camps across Canada.

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