Working to pay for your education

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The more money you save before going to university or college, the less you’ll have to borrow. This means you’ll have less debt to pay back later and you’ll be in a better financial position at the end of your post-secondary studies.

Work before post-secondary school

One way to build your savings is to work part-time during high school or during the summer.

For example, suppose you work eight hours a week for two years in high school. If you earn the average minimum wage in Canada ($12.23 per hour in 2018), you could earn a total of $10,175.36 before taxes and deductions.

The minimum wage is different in every province.

Figure out the minimum wage in your province or territory.

Using automatic deposits is a good way to save money. Speak to your financial institution about having some of your pay automatically deposited into a savings account or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Keep in mind that you have to be 18 or older to open a TFSA.

Use the Financial Goal Calculator to help calculate how much you may save with your earnings from a part-time job.

Use the Account Comparison Tool to find the savings account that best suits your needs.

Learn more about opening a TFSA.

Work during post-secondary school

Working part-time during the school year may help pay for your studies. Before taking a part-time job, be sure to ask your employer if they're willing to work around your class and exam schedule.

Working during the summer break

Working during the school year may not be practical based on your program and course load. If you’re not able to work during the school year, you can always work during the summer. Summer breaks for many post-secondary students are four months long.

For example, suppose you work 37.5 hours a week during four months of the summer. If you earn the average minimum wage ($12.10 per hour in 2018), you could earn $7,260.00 before taxes and deductions.

Co-op programs and internships

Some schools offer co-op programs that let you work in a job related to your studies. You may get paid for these jobs, which means you can make money while earning credits towards your degree. Talk to your school for more information on these programs.

Internships are another way to earn income while gaining experience related to your studies. Note that some internship positions are unpaid.

Find out more about internships and co-op programs.

Tips for finding a job while you're a student

The federal government has a number of programs designed to help students find work.

Online job boards

Online job boards provide lists of jobs available to students. You can search for jobs for students and youth.

Consult the Job Bank to find an electronic listing of jobs provided by employers from all across Canada.

Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

The Federal Student Work Experience Program allows you to find a public service job related to your field of study. It's open to high-school and post-secondary students. Both part-time and summer jobs are available. Make sure you apply to the program early because hiring for the summer can begin in January.

Find out if you're eligible and learn how to apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program.

Company websites

Many companies will post current job opportunities on their website. Check the websites of companies where you might like to work for more information.

Temporary work agencies

If you have regular days when you’re available to work, temporary work agencies can help you find work for a short period of time in an office or other location. You may have to pay the agency a fee if they find you a job. Check online listings for temporary work agencies.

Seasonal/holiday hiring

Some businesses need extra employees for short periods at certain times of the year. For example, retail stores and restaurants often need extra staff during winter holidays.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is an account registered with the federal government to help you and your family save for your post-secondary education.

When you contribute to an RESP, you become eligible for federal grants.

Learn how to use your RESP to help pay for your education.

Learn about grants that contribute to a child's RESP.

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