Why Are Scholarships Important?

Estimated living expenses:

  • $2,000-$4,000 with parents 
  • $9,000-$11,000 independently

Estimated tuition, books, academic supplies, etc.

  • Tuition - $4,050 - $8,730 
  • Books - $1,307 - $2,000

How Much Will School Cost? - Alberta Alis

What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a monetary award which is often based on a variety of criteria:

  • Academics 
  • Volunteer work 
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Sports

Financial need may or may not be a factor.

What is a Bursary?

A bursary is a monetary grant that is usually based on financial need rather than merit.

The student is in need of financial assistance in order to continue their education.

Student Government Loans

Both the Federal and Provincial governments provide student loans for post-secondary study. Students must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and apply through the province that considers them a resident.

  • AB= automatic $1,500 contribution expectation, Parent salary and savings not expected
  • Canada= auto $1,500-$3,000 contribution, parent contribution required based on income – see parent contribution calculator

Alberta Student Aid

Types of Scholarships

  • Institution Based Scholarships
    • Every post-secondary institution will offer first year scholarships for first year students. Check the institution’s web page for a list of these scholarships.
    • Open to students admitted to the post-secondary institute directly from high school.
    • Students MUST apply to the institute in order to be considered. 
    • Students are considered based on their grade point average from high school.
  • Membership Scholarships
    • Many organizations have scholarships available to members and their families.  Example A.T.A. (AB Teachers Association) 
    • Could include employers, clubs, cultural organizations, religious affiliations, or teams.
  • CBE / School Based Scholarships
    • Managed by the Calgary Board of Education
    • Selected at school or city level. 
    • The typical application time for these is in the spring of the student’s Grade 12 year.
    • Visit EducationMatters and Calgary Foundation
  • Corporate Scholarships
    • Nationally or provincially selected E.g.  Toyota, T.D. Bank, Scotia Bank
  • Government Scholarships
    • Alberta:  Alexander Rutherford Scholarship
    • 75% - 80% and higher average in 5 subjects in grade 10 ($400), 11($800), and 12($1,300). 
    • Different monetary amounts awarded depending on average. 
    • Value varies from $300 to $2,500 
    • Apply after post sec acceptance 
    • Official high school marks. 
    • Visit Alberta Student Aid for more information.

Application Tips

  • Read award criteria carefully
  • Type your application /make it legible
  • Include your name
  • Grammar, spelling, & word count
  • References: Choose wisely, secure early
  • Make sure application is complete
  • Financial need/Financial information
  • Keep an extra copy of your application
  • Contact information & important updates
  • Share your story
  • Be passionate 
  • Make your essay/application personal 
  • Talk about your experiences

What to Write for Your Essay

  • Read the question and stick to the theme of the essay 
  • Share anecdotes and personal stories 
  • Stand out

Let your passion shine through...

“Volunteering is a major part of my life. Through the several events that I have had the privilege of partaking in, I have been able to do many things for the betterment of my own self and the greater community. By volunteering my time and skills, I am able to let my own light shine and inspire others to realize that service to community brings back infinite rewards.”

What NOT to Write

“Because for me, it’s not about loving your job everyday of your life, instead it’s all about the job security. I would rather have a job that I know I will have for a long time rather than one I love, but may not have it the next day. Once I get a job, I will slowly try to make my way up the corporate ladder as much as I can, before retiring at an optimistically early age (maybe 50?).”

How to Earn Financial Support for Post-Secondary

There are many opportunities for students to earn and achieve financial support for post-secondary studies. 

Students should actively seek out and research all available financial support. They can see their guidance counselor for more details. As scholarships and bursaries have firm guidelines and application deadlines, students should leave themselves ample time to complete the application process. Students should make note of all deadlines and ensure they have all documentation in on time. There are many opportunities available for scholarship outside of grade 12 as well. It is never too soon to begin to seek out opportunities and to apply. 

A scholarship is awarded first on the basis of academic achievement while a bursary is awarded primarily on the basis of financial need. Neither has to be repaid. More Information is available from Student Services.

Many post-secondary institutes and scholarship granting agencies, require references. Teachers and administration write many letters for students. Being specific in the purpose of the reference letter and ensuring students allow ample time to complete the letter is always very helpful and makes for a stronger reference in the end.

More Scholarship Information

Go through the handbook then start exploring scholarships by month, located in the top right corner under Resources. We post at least one month in advance of due dates! 

Students can contact the Student Services Office for more post-secondary planning information. Be sure to check the Daily Bulletin, Wednesday Warrior and the HWW phone APP for information on post-secondary presentations, scholarships, awards, and other information. Please check the website often for changes and updates

Have you created a profile? 

Other Websites to explore

Last modified on

​   ​