Canada, the largest country in the world after Russia, is the dreamland for every Nigerian student who wishes to study abroad. IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) reports that Nigeria is the major African human resource market for immigrants in Canada with a steady increase of 5.1% in the past few years, of which 60% are students. Why? This is because Canada offers socio-political stability, a relatable cost of living, a superb economy, and standard education at much more affordable rates than other European countries.
Educanada confirms that an international student pays an average tuition fee of $21 000- $36 000 annually for undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively. This is roughly ₦15, 000, 000 – ₦27, 000, 000. Although the fees are commensurate to the quality of education, these digits are more than half the savings for a decade of an average Nigerian. Do you know you can study in Canada without paying such exorbitant fees? Worry less, we’ve got you covered.
OVERVIEW OF THE FINANCIAL AID OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS
Although international students do not have access to as much monetary support as Canadian citizens have, there are a couple of government scholarships, private scholarships, grants, and financial aid resources provided by universities and non-governmental organizations designed just for them. By exploring these avenues, you can increase your chances of securing the necessary funds to pursue your studies in Canada.
GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS
Diplomatic and international relationships between Nigeria and Canada have opened doors for scholarships to be offered to Nigerian students who wish to study in Canada and vice-versa. Now, the Nigerian government recognizes the importance of education and offers financial aid to support their students studying abroad. One such program is the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) scholarship, which is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education. This scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses for Nigerian students studying in Canada. It is open to all and sundry as long as you meet their laid-down requirements.
Another government scholarship option is the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), which is awarded to exceptional Nigerian students based on their academic performance. This scholarship is highly competitive, but if you meet the eligibility criteria and excel academically, it can provide a significant financial boost for your studies in Canada.
In addition to these government scholarships, there are also grants available specifically for Nigerian students. One of such is the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) grant offered to Nigerian students studying in Canada to help cover tuition fees and other related expenses. It is important to research and stay updated on the various government scholarships and grants available, as they can largely contribute to your financial aid journey.
PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS
Concerning government-funded initiatives, there are also private scholarships and grants provided by private organizations, foundations, and individuals who are passionate about supporting education and providing opportunities for talented students.
A notable private scholarship is the MTN Foundation Scholarship, which is open to Nigerian students studying in various fields, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). This scholarship not only provides financial aid but also offers mentorship and internship opportunities, giving recipients a well-rounded experience. The scholarship is not only granted to students schooling within the country but also to those who wish to study overseas.
Shell Nigeria University Scholarship Program is another private scholarship option offered by Shells Petroleum, a multi-million naira oil and gas company in Nigeria. The financial support is available to Nigerian students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Canada. This scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation, and other related expenses.
Now that you know that these mouth-watering opportunities exist, what are you waiting for? However, note that private scholarships often have specific eligibility criteria and application requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the application process for each scholarship you are interested in. By investing time and effort into your scholarship applications, you can significantly increase your chances of securing the financial aid you need.
TIPS FOR WRITING A STRONG SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION ESSAY
When applying for scholarships, one of the most important components of your application is the scholarship essay. This is your opportunity to showcase your passion, and aspirations, and why you deserve to receive financial aid. Here are some cues to help you write a valid scholarship application essay:
- Start early and plan your essay: Give yourself enough time to brainstorm ideas, outline your essay, and revise it multiple times. Planning will allow you to craft a well-thought-out and polished essay.
- Understand the scholarship requirements: Read and understand the scholarship requirements thoroughly. Tailor your essay to address the specific criteria and focus on highlighting your strengths and achievements that align with those requirements.
- Be authentic and genuine: Scholarship committees appreciate honesty and originality. Share your unique story, experiences, and aspirations. Avoid generic statements and clichés – instead, let your personality shine through.
- Show gratitude and highlight your goals: Express gratitude for the opportunity to apply for the scholarship and explain how receiving the financial aid will help you achieve your educational and career goals.
- Show passion and determination in pursuing your studies in Canada.
- Seek feedback and revise: Ask a trusted mentor, teacher, or family member to review your essay. Their feedback can provide valuable insights and help you refine your essay further. Revise your essay multiple times to ensure it is clear, concise, and error-free.
By following these tips, you can craft an amazing scholarship application essay that increases your chances of securing financial aid.
OTHER FINANCIAL AID RESOURCES FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS
In addition to scholarships and grants offered by both government and private bodies, there are various financial aid resources specifically designed for Nigerian students who want to study in Canada. They include:
- Nigerian Student Associations: Many Nigerian student associations in Canada offer financial aid programs, mentorship opportunities, and resources to support Nigerian students. These associations often have scholarship funds or can guide on accessing financial aid resources.
- Canadian Student Loans: Nigerian students studying in Canada may be eligible for Canadian student loans, which can help cover tuition fees and living expenses. It is important to research the loan options available and understand the terms and conditions before applying.
- University Financial Aid Offices: Most Canadian universities have dedicated financial aid offices that provide information and aid on scholarships, grants, and other financial aid programs. Reach out to these offices to explore the options available to you.
- Work-Study Programs: Some universities offer work-study programs that allow students to work part-time on campus while pursuing their studies. These programs provide financial assistance and valuable work experience.
By utilizing these financial aid resources, you can further supplement your scholarship funding and ensure a smooth financial journey during your studies in Canada.
PART-TIME JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR NIGERIAN STUDENTS IN CANADA
Working part-time while studying in Canada can provide valuable financial support and help cover living expenses. As a Nigerian student, there are various part-time job opportunities available to you. Here are some popular options:
- On-campus jobs: Many Canadian universities offer on-campus job opportunities for students. These jobs can range from working in the library or cafeteria to assisting with research projects or administrative tasks. On-campus jobs often provide flexible schedules that accommodate your studies.
- Off-campus jobs: Nigerian students studying in Canada may also explore off-campus job opportunities. These can include working in retail, hospitality, or customer service industries. It is important to ensure that your work permit allows you to work off-campus and adhere to the specified number of working hours.
- Internships and Co-op Programs: Some Canadian universities offer internship and co-op programs that allow students to gain practical work experience in their field of study while earning income. These programs can provide valuable networking opportunities and enhance your resume.
- Freelancing and Online Work: With the advent of the digital age, freelancing and online work have become popular options for students. Platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr offer opportunities to showcase your skills and earn an income remotely.
- Side Hustle: You can as well practice a side hustle that you have learned in Nigeria such as manicures and pedicures, make-over, body spas, and hairdressing. With these skills, one could make quite a handful of Canadian dollars to support oneself.
When working part-time, it is important to strike a balance between work and studies. Ensure that your part-time job does not interfere with your academic responsibilities and prioritize your education.
BUDGETING AND MANAGING FINANCES AS A NIGERIAN STUDENT IN CANADA
Effectively managing finances is crucial for Nigerian students studying in Canada. Here are some tips to help you budget and manage your finances:
- Create a budget: Develop a monthly budget that includes all your income and expenses. Be realistic and allocate funds for tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, groceries, utilities, and other necessities. Track your expenses to ensure you stay within budget.
- Seek financial advice: Many universities have financial advisors who can provide guidance on budgeting, managing student loans, and making sound financial decisions. Take advantage of these resources to gain valuable insights.
- Save on living expenses: Look for ways to save on living expenses by shopping smartly, cooking meals at home, and utilizing student discounts. Consider sharing accommodation with roommates to reduce housing costs.
- Explore scholarships and grants: Continuously search for scholarships and grants that you may be eligible for. Apply early and maximize your chances of securing financial aid. Remember to meet all application deadlines.
- Build an emergency fund: Set aside a portion of your income as an emergency fund. This fund can be used to cover unexpected expenses or financial emergencies.
- Explore student discounts and benefits: Many businesses offer student discounts on various products and services. Take advantage of these discounts to save money on essentials and entertainment.
By following these budgeting and financial management tips, you can ensure that your finances are well-managed throughout your studies in Canada.
Securing financial aid as a Nigerian student studying in Canada may require time, effort, and careful planning. However, with the right resources and support, it is entirely possible to achieve your educational aspirations. Here are some final tips to help you secure financial aid:
- Begin early: Long before you need it, start looking into scholarships, grants, and other financial help alternatives. This will give you plenty of time to collect the required paperwork and submit competitive applications.
- Take initiative: Take the initiative to actively look for financial aid opportunities via online tools, college resources, and Nigerian student organizations. Attend workshops and educational sessions about scholarships to be informed and
- Make your applications unique by emphasizing your accomplishments, objectives, and how you will benefit the Canadian academic community in your scholarship applications. Your genuine interest and devotion are shown by how precisely you tailor your applications.
- Seek guidance: Reach out to mentors, teachers, and experienced individuals who can provide guidance and advice on securing financial aid. They can offer valuable insights and help you navigate the application process.
- Stay motivated and persistent: Receiving financial aid can be a competitive process, but don’t let setbacks discourage you. Stay motivated, persevere, and continue to explore new opportunities.
Remember, securing financial aid is not only about financial support but also about the recognition of your potential and the opportunities it opens up for you. By utilizing the resources available, crafting strong applications, and managing your finances wisely, you can make your dreams of studying in Canada a reality. Good luck on your journey!