Paying off your student loans

April 23, 2024

By Grace Hui

Some of you may have just graduated or will be graduating within a year. When that time comes, the reality of paying off your four years of debt will come. Paying off your debt isn't too hard, if you have a plan. Here is what I did to pay off my debt right after graduation.

Saving Government Grants

For those of you who do receive government student loans on a semester basis, you are eligible to apply for government grants. Every single semester, I was able to receive a grant ranging from $1000 - $2000 depending on my course load and current employment status. The key here is to not spend the grant. These grants will help tremendously in the future when you are paying off your debt. I've found it to be beneficial to use my student loands first and top it off with part time income rather than to use grants. Keep in mind, grants are tax free! Save them for making the payments later on.

Don't spend your loans for personal expense

It's tempting to use your student loans for personal expense but try to refrain from spending this money unless you have to because it will add up in the long run. Instead of using this amount, store it away in a savings account along with your government grant and before you know it, you will have thousands saved up ready for repayment! 

Part Time Job

While I was a student, I was always employed. I've worked in the retail banking industry as a teller for my entire academic career. The banking industry was a great source of income for me while providing flexibility to fit my academic schedule. Flexibility was a quality I was looking for since my work schedule had to fit my exam schedules as well. This was my primary srouce income for supplementing my student loans if the loans alone were not able to cover the entire cost of tuition.  

Living At Home

If your parents are in Vancouver, do live at home. It's a great opportunity to save up for your tuition. Rent in Vancouver is incredibly expensive so do take advantage of living at home or perhaps pay your parents a small rental fee as means of thanking them. The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment starts at $1300 so you can imagine the cost of living on your own is quite high given there are other expenses as well like tenant insurance and utilities as well. 

Co-op Placements

Co-op placements generally pay either on par with market value or above market value so this is another great source of income during your time off away from academics. Co-op programs provide professional working experience for you and more often than not, you do end up saving while you are on a co-op term. Set your savings aside towards your repayment or tuition to lessen the burden of your student loans down the road. If you are on a co-op placement outside of town, do consider subletting dorms if you are placed in a city with university dorm options. These are generally more affordable and are only open to university students!