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Financing Your Education

Student Financial Preparation (Plan)

If you are a current or a prospective student, you have most likely considered how you will pay for all your expenses during your time at NSCAD. Preparing a plan in advance can help you lay out all your expenses and income sources to put you in a more informed position and reduce stress by knowing your options.

A comprehensive Student Budget Worksheet can be found on the Government of Canada’s Website. To access this resource please click the link below.

Here are tips to creating your own plan to finance your education
Figure out all your costs

When figuring out all the costs you will be expecting, there will be some easily calculable fees like tuition and others where you will have to guesstimate like groceries. You can visit /tuition to determine tuition costs, student fees, health insurance and U-Pass costs. You’ll also want to include all other costs you expect such as:

  • Books
  • Equipment/laptop
  • Spending money
  • Cell phone costs
  • Rent & groceries (if living off campus)
  • Commuting costs (gas, winter tires)
  • Rental insurance
  • Utilities
  • Other expenses you foresee, spending money

*Another fee to be mindful of is material fees. Depending on your program you may have to pay for materials for your courses, which can be an additional few hundred dollars each semester.

For ideas on what costs you may want to include, please visit

Determine your Funding Sources

Now that you’ve calculated your total costs, the next step is to determine your funding sources. This will typically include one or a combination of the following:

  • Government assistance/Student loans
  • Scholarships, awards & bursaries
  • Student line of credit
  • RESPs
  • Sponsorship payments
  • Job earnings
  • Help from family
  • Savings

*NSCAD offers a number of Entrance and In-course Scholarships, please visit Scholarships and Bursaries – NSCAD. When students apply to attend NSCAD their application will be automatically considered for an entrance scholarship. Current students start becoming eligible for In-course Scholarships after they have completed at least one semester with NSCAD.

It is recommended that students also apply for external awards and look to see if they are eligible for scholarships through their government, workplace, etc.

Build a Schedule and Finalize your Plan

After you have identified what your costs and funding will be, it is now time to create a plan to help you keep track of your incoming and outgoing funds.

Here we suggest students:

Build a schedule to know when you’ll receive funds and when payments are due

  • If you are aware of how much income you will require throughout your schooling it will help alleviate stress, because this will reduce the possibility of being surprised.
  • This is why it is important to know when you can expect payments from your student loans, line of credits, RESPs, Scholarships, while keeping in mind delays might occur.

Construct a plan to meet your needs and follow through

  • Keep track of your spending and see if there’s anything you may need to eliminate from your spending.
  • Update any funding changes or spending changes as they happen.
  • Keep all of your payment records for one-month periods to see if you’re staying on track.
  • Understand that no one is perfect and that this plan isn’t to restrict spending but used as a resource to track your finances and know how much funding you may need.

While it’s suggested that students develop a financial plan, it’s also important to know that some unexpected events may occur. If you find yourself struggling to pay for tuition, rent, food, etc., please get in contact with our Financial Aid Office. Advising appointments can be booked on and you can also reach out to ose@nscad.ca.