by Laura Bailey

originally published in the December, 2010 Issue

With the new year almost upon us, now is the time to start thinking about post-secondary education and begin training for the career you want. Going to a post-secondary institution can be a challenge, and finding the right college or program leads to finding the resources to make it happen.

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) offers loans while Second Career funding pays for retraining; these are some of the ways students are getting funding from the provincial government to complete their studies. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) also has funding available for retraining injured workers in Ontario.

“Career colleges have delivered about half of the training under the Second Career program,” said Paul Kitchin, executive director of the Ontario Association of Career Colleges. The provincially funded program helps laid-off workers gain skills training and find jobs in high-demand careers.

The hands-on, intensive programs available at Ontario’s private career colleges are often of shorter duration than public colleges, making PCCs a popular choice for people interested in getting back to work as soon as possible.

“Career colleges have long been hailed for their intensive, hands-on training,” said Kitchin. “We provide focused education that instils the practical skills necessary for success in the work place.” There are many private career colleges in Ontario who are OSAP designated, which means students in programs at that college are eligible for student loans from the government to fund their education. With no interest or repayments required until after graduation, OSAP is one of the best options available to students.

Additionally, there are many bursaries, grants, contests, awards, government and bank loan options available to students looking to help fund their education at a private career college.

Bank loans or lines of credit often offer low interest rates during the study period, where no payment on the principal of the loan is required. These loans can also offer periods after graduation where interest-only payments continue. Visiting a bank will help students understand the types of loans available and what might work best for their personal need.

Some funding options require students to pay back a portion or all of the money loaned, such as OSAP and bank loans, but students can now use the web and other resources to find programs and awards with no payback requirement giving students a low-cost or no-cost education.

College sponsored scholarships

Grade Learning is hoping prospective students will like them on Facebook for a chance at one of five scholarships the private career college is offering. People who “like” the Grade Learning Facebook page can then apply for scholarships of $5000, and share with friends to increase their chance of winning.

Speaking about using the social media platform to give away scholarships, Grade Learning CEO Michael Bateman said, “It was a way for us to build our Facebook presence, to attract individuals that have a need for retraining.”

“Think of how often people are on Facebook and get nothing from it. It’s just a social place to be. With this it’s a nice opportunity,” Bateman said.

This new generation of promotion will allow more people to hear about and share the scholarship with a variety of friends, in turn giving them the chance of funding their own education.

“The idea is an individual can produce their own scholarship almost,” Bateman explained. “If they apply for the scholarship and direct people to the Facebook page, they give themselves a good shot at getting a scholarship.”

BTH Education in Mississauga is another private career college offering a helping hand to students. BTH Education offers a bursary for full tuition coverage and 75 percent tuition coverage to students interested in the IT Engineering Diploma.

“We are offering these bursaries in an effort to build up and contribute to the community and city that we operate in,” said Louis Barnard of BTH Education.

Students can visit the college website and apply using the bursary application form.

Other career colleges may offer scholarships to students interested in attending their schools. For more information students should contact the colleges directly.

External Scholarships and awards

There are many websites geared towards connecting students to specific awards.,,, and WorkInfoNet. ca are just some of the websites available to students looking for awards, grants, bursaries and scholarships. Students can also contact the financial aid office at their prospective career college and inquire about scholarship opportunities.


Laura Bailey is the Media Communications Coordinator for the Ontario Association of Career Colleges.

Toronto, Canada