We all have questions about life as a student. Below are some of the answers.
No. A bursary is like a grant and does not have to be repaid, although it is considered taxable income. It usually is based on financial need.
Not necessarily. Some editions have made only minor changes that may not be significant. Ask the instructor whether the previous edition is acceptable before you buy.
Have you applied for government student assistance and all the scholarships you can? Considered taking on a part-time job? Perhaps there are creative ways to cut costs that you hadn't considered, like getting a roommate, living at home, travelling by bike instead of getting a car or saving on books. If you're still short, apply for an RBC student loan to make up the difference. Or, consider a Royal Credit Line® for Students as a contingency fund.
A line of credit and credit cards are both helpful money management tools. Credit cards are perfect for short-term borrowing. They offer convenience and help you manage cash flow because you don't get charged interest on your purchases if you pay by the due date. Depending on the type of card you hold, you can also accumulate rewards points, which you can cash in for things you really need, like travel and gift cards.
Your landlord may ask you to sign a rental agreement or lease. It will set out details like the amount of rent and when it's due, as well as restrictions (like smoking or pets) and your obligations and responsibility for repairs. Read carefully before you sign (it's a legal commitment!) and keep a copy for your records.
No matter where you live, you cannot withhold a rent payment to settle a dispute. You should continue to pay your rent, but call your local tenants' association or your school's housing office for advice on how to proceed in your situation. You can also check the rental factsheet for your province or territory on the CMHC website.
Depending on where you're shopping, you usually need to show some proof — either your student card (especially for on-campus deals) or an International Student Identity Card. You should have both — and carry them — to take advantage of as many money-saving opportunities as possible. To get your ISIC, visit your nearest Travel CUTS or student association office or locate the issuer nearest you.
Many organizations offer loans to young entrepreneurs, even if they are still in school. Start with the RBC Young Entrepreneurs site.
Not exactly, although it's better than not paying at all. Paying the minimum by the due date keeps your account in good standing and protects your credit rating. But it will cost you — possibly a lot — in interest. Whenever possible, pay the full amount to avoid interest charges. If you really can't manage it, pay as much as you can, but always make sure to pay at least the minimum required amount outlined on your monthly statement.
Take a look at your credit habits. Do you have several credit cards? Are they all maxed out? Do you ever use one to pay the others? These are signs that you're carrying too much debt. Talk to a representative at your bank about getting a consolidation loan to get back on track.
RBC has services especially for students in a medical or dental professional program. These include a scholarship and the RBC Plan for Medical & Dental Students, which provides flexible financing (a $250,000 line of credit at prime) along with convenient banking services. Ask your RBC Student Champion for a free copy of the Canadian Medical Residency Guide on managing your finances.
Absolutely. As a post-secondary student, you have a strong career and income potential ahead of you. RBC recognizes this, and offers credit card options that are perfect for students. For example, we offer the RBC Cash Back MasterCard‡ for students that is a no-fee credit card, and the Signature® RBC Rewards Visa‡ for students that allows you to earn rewards points with every purchase for a low annual fee of $39 — waived if you also have an RBC Student Banking® account or an RBC No Limit Banking for Students account.
Think of a line of credit as a financial lifeline. You're waiting for grant money and need to buy books? Line of credit to the rescue. Short on rent money for the last month of the year? Tap into the line of credit. It's there when you need it, but doesn't cost you anything when you don't.
A pre-authorized savings plan is a great way to build your savings. If you have an RBC account, you simply log on to RBC online banking and arrange to transfer the amount you want — say, $25 — to your savings account and indicate how often you want this to happen. After that, you don't have to make any more decisions, so saving becomes automatic.
Some chequing accounts do pay interest, but it won't be as high as the interest on a savings account. That's why it's a good idea to have both. Keep enough money in your chequing account to cover regular expenses, and put money you don't need for a month or two into a savings account, where it will earn more interest.
That depends on where you'll be and for how long, so be sure to do some advance planning. It's a good idea to order some local currency from your bank before you leave, to last the first couple of days. After that, you may be able to use your debit card at a bank or ATM machine to access funds in your account. You will be charged that day's exchange rate. If you'll be visiting remote areas that may not have an ATM, bring travelers’ cheques — they're safer than cash, but can be exchanged in many places.
Whenever you are travelling outside of Canada, and even outside of your province, it's a good idea to get travelers insurance. You'll be protected against emergencies, illness and even lost or stolen possessions. If, say, your backpack goes astray, or you get a case of the traveler’s flu, you know you've got someone to help you get sorted out. RBC Travel HealthProtector® is a good choice that offers flexibility, thorough coverage and low premiums.