A Step–by–Step Guide to Paying for College

Going to college is possibly the best investment you can make. It's an investment in your future.

Here, we’ve provided some tips on how to prepare yourself financially for college, from creating a budget to information on student loans, awards and bursaries.

Money Management Tips

Create a Budget

Creating a realistic budget is the key in keeping your spending under control and reducing the debt you will incur while pursuing post-secondary education. Following the simple tips below will help you create a personalized budget:

Set a time frame for your budget

Decide on a timeline for your budget (month, semester, or school year).

Record all of your income/resources

Your list of income/resources could include the following:

  • Savings
  • Student loans
  • Gifts of money or loans from parents or others
  • Scholarships, awards and bursaries
  • Income from part-time job
  • Interest from investments or savings account

Record all of your expenses

To get information on tuition and other fees, please visit How Much Will College Cost or call your academic department.

Your list of expenses could include the following:

  • Tuition
  • Other college fees
  • Books, materials, uniforms
  • Transportation
  • Clothes
  • Housing expenses
  • Living expenses (food, phone, Internet, entertainment, gifts, etc.)
  • Utilities (cable, water, electricity, heating costs)
  • Taxes (Tax Tips for Students).

Set aside funds for emergencies

Emergency situations can arise any time and it’s a good idea to set aside some funds so you are prepared to face them (i.e. fixing your laptop, buying medication, purchasing a flight ticket home for family emergency, etc.). Do not use these funds for non-academic or other recreational uses.

Stay on track with your budget

Understand the difference between your wants and needs. When there is a shortfall of income, you may have to sacrifice some of your favourite activities (movies, restaurant meals, sporting events, etc.). The little expenses add up—if you’re buying a coffee every day for $2 that adds up to $730 per year!

Make sure to balance your income with expenses

Your goal should be to ensure that your expenses do not exceed income.

Money Saving Tips

  • Tracking your spending by saving receipts will help you follow your budget.
  • When you save more than expected, put that money aside to make a big purchase one day or pay down your debt.
  • Be aware of situations that may require you to spend more than your budget allows, and try to identify alternatives.
  • Cook meals at home. It’s cheaper and you also have the option of making healthier food.
  • When you shop, look for sales and for stores offering student discounts.
  • If you travel every day by public transit, buy a monthly pass at a discounted rate that is available for George Brown students. Carpooling and cycling can also be great ways to save money.
  • Save money on long distance phone calls by using Skype.
  • Avoid signing up for credit cards unless you really need them because you could end up paying high interest rates. Remember, it is easy to max out your credit cards, but it is very difficult to pay them off - so spend wisely.
  • Buy used textbooks and sell yours when you don’t need them.
  • Instead of going out to the movies with your friends, watch films at home.
  • Tutoring is a good way to earn money. Check for openings with George Brown’s PeerConnect and Tutoring and Learning (TLC) Centres.
  • Pitch in money with friends and buy in bulk.
  • Get roommates and share your living expenses.
  • Wear more layers of clothes during winter to keep warm inside your residence instead of turning up the thermostat, which will increase your heating bill.
  • Make your own coffee at home and take it with you in a travel mug.
  • If you need additional money, look for part-time jobs, apply for bursaries, awards and scholarships and, if it’s possible, ask your family for help.


George Brown College has joined the HigherEdPoints.com program as a Participating Institution. With this new partnership, students (or their parents or grandparents) are able to convert Aeroplan® Miles and/or TD Points into funds to help cover tuition fees as well as pay off OSAP loans. For more information visit the HigherEdPoints.com program page.

Student Loans

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

Many George Brown students are eligible to receive loan and grant funding through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). In the 2014/2015 academic year, George Brown College students received $85 million in OSAP loans and grants. You must be taking at least 60 percent of a full-time program course load to qualify. If you have a permanent disability, you can qualify for OSAP if you are taking at least 40 percent of the course load.

Six months after you graduate from college, you start to pay off OSAP loans. The best source of up-to-date information about OSAP loans, including repayment conditions, is the OSAP website. OSAP loans are not intended to pay for all of your college expenses. They are meant to make college feasible for more people.

For information on how and when to apply for loans and grants through the Ontario Student Assistance Program, visit the OSAP website or check George Brown’s Financial Assistance page.

  • You can contact George Brown’s Financial Aid office for more information about OSAP at finaid@georgebrown.ca.
  • George Brown College's Financial Assistance Office must be notified about any changes from the time of your OSAP application such as your address, income, course load and marital status. Future OSAP depends on correct information.
  • After applying for OSAP, you may check the status of your application online at http://osap.gov.on.ca.

Awards, Scholarships & Financial Assistance

Assistance in the form of scholarships, awards and bursaries is provided to eligible students to assist them with the costs of their education.

The online Student Awards portal is on STU-VIEW. You can apply online, which will require you to first complete a student profile. The profile will take 30 to 45 minutes to complete, if you are registered in a full-time course load, additional eligible award groups will appear. Click here for application deadlines and for more information about available awards.

For step-by-step instructions visit the Student Awards page on STU-VIEW or view a PDF copy.

If you would like in-person assistance with completing your application, please visit the PeerConnect office at your campus where coaches will be available to assist students with navigating the student awards portal.

Last year, George Brown College students received more than $6.5 million in scholarships, bursaries, and awards, including:

George Brown College Entrance Awards

Every year George Brown College awards over 100 entrance scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each.

Bursary for Students with Disabilities

This bursary provides funding for students who require special equipment or services because of a disability. The application is submitted to the Financial Assistance Office following consultation between the student and student’s assigned Accessible Learning Consultant (Accessible Learning Services Office). Each applicant must be assessed for the need for funding and must qualify for OSAP.

George Brown College Emergency Fund

This fund provides immediate financial assistance for unforeseen situations caused by theft, fire, illness, or accident that put you at financial risk of leaving college.

George Brown College Bursary

This fund provides bursaries to students who are in good academic standing but may not be able to complete their studies due to financial circumstances.

Where to Get Help


Financial Assistance Offices are located in the Student Service Centers at St. James, Casa Loma and Waterfront Campuses, as well as in Room 591 (Sally Horsfall Eaton Building) at Ryerson Campus.

  • St. James and Casa Loma Campus offices are open Monday to Friday (8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • Waterfront Campus office is open Monday to Friday (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • Ryerson Campus office is open Thursdays only (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed for lunch 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.)

Drop-ins are first come, first served—no appointments are necessary.

Email: FinAid@georgebrown.ca  

Awards: Awards@georgebrown.ca  

Online: Financial Assistance website

Useful links: