Financial support for Indigenous students

Creating a financial plan

Deciding to pursue university studies is exciting, and the Indigenous Student Support Team is glad you have chosen UBC to be a part of it! Part of preparing for and successfully completing your program is planning for the financial piece of post-secondary education. Creating a financial plan is a way that you can take control of your finances while attending UBC, which can lead to a positive and stress-free experience. As this can be a new situation for many, in addition to online resources there are people available at UBC to support you as you navigate the options that are available to you.

Academic and personal costs

When planning to attend UBC, there are many costs to consider: 

  • Tuition and student fees
  • Books and other classroom material
  • Housing
  • Utilities (cellphone, power and heat)
  • Groceries and meals
  • Entertainment and subscriptions
  • Personal items
  • Child care

Funding resources for Indigenous students

There are many ways to fund your education at UBC. If you are an Indigenous student, you can request funds from several funding sources, depending on your situation.

First Nation, Band or community sponsorship

At UBC, some Indigenous students are eligible to receive support from their band to pay for their post-secondary education, including First Nations communities, Metis Associations, or community organizations like the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship CentresDepending on your band, they may be able to offer support with tuition and fees, as well as monthly living expenses.

Get in touch with your band early to determine if this is an option for you. You will be required to have your band fill out a Sponsorship Billing Agreement before the start of every academic year. You can also learn more about the process of Sponsorship billing.

Government student loans and grants

Government student loans are offered by every province and territory in Canada, and you apply through your province or territory of residence.

These loans remain interest-free while you are a full-time student. You are also not required to pay this loan back until you’re no longer in full-time studies. It’s the most ideal type of credit or loan for students, if you need to borrow funding to attend post-secondary. View types of student loans and how to apply.

When you apply for student loans, you’re also considered for government grant funding, depending on your family size, income, and more. Grants do not have to be paid back and you’re only eligible for them if you apply for government assistance.

Things to consider

  • If applying for a student loan in British Columbia, the amount of sponsorship funding you receive will not impact your loan assessment. You are encouraged to apply for both sponsorship funding and student loan funding at the same time.
  • Outside of British Columbia, sponsorship funding may be counted as an asset towards your loan calculation. Please verify this with your Provincial Loan Provider.
  • If you are eligible for and are receiving government student loans, you are also eligible to apply for the UBC Bursary Program. If your application is successful, bursary funds do not need to be paid back.
  • For students studying part-time, there are loan options and grant funding that can cover the cost of tuition, books, and classroom materials.
  • A very common way that students finance their post-secondary course work is through government student loans. That said, it is also quite common for students to have negative opinions and/or fears around the idea of student loans and/or debt in general. Having these ideas and feelings is normal, and the Indigenous Student Support Team would love to talk with you about them!

UBC scholarships and bursaries for Indigenous students

There are many scholarships and awards available to all UBC students, awarded based on a number of different criteria, including academic standing, involvement in extracurricular activities, or financial need. See if you are eligible for:

You can also use the UBC Award Search Tool to explore the general awards and scholarships by faculty and year level.

Jobs and career resources

UBC offers many job opportunities for students to build work experience and earn money.

  • Work Learn program
    Work part-time in a UBC department or unit for 10 - 20 hours per week while still taking classes.
  • UBC Co-op program
    Gain work experience in the industry through a four- or eight-month full-time position and apply your classroom knowledge in a practical setting. 
  • Other on-campus jobs
    Browse a list of places at UBC that regularly hire students.
  • Career resources for Indigenous graduates
    If you’re graduating from UBC, view the resource guide to help you move through the next steps of your career journey.
  • Job Search
    Learn how to be strategic in finding job opportunities.

Emergency funding

Sometimes, even with the best planning, you may run into a situation that is out of your control and you may need help to deal with the problem. One option might be short term emergency funding to help cover a temporary shortfall due to an unexpected emergency situation when no other financial options are available.

Get details

If you need help

The Indigenous Student Support and Advising Team in Enrolment Services works closely with other teams on campus, including the following:

From the beginning of your UBC journey until graduation, Enrolment Services Advisors get the support you need when you need it, including:

  • Creating a financial plan
  • Helping you understand the different funding options
  • Developing a scholarship or award application

All undergraduate students have an assigned Enrolment Services Advisor for personalized advising. If you do not have an assigned advisor, you can email the Indigenous Advising Team (es.indigenous@ubc.ca) for help.

If you have questions

  • If you have an assigned Enrolment Services Advisor, please contact them directly through email or phone.
  • If you are a prospective, undergraduate, graduate, or post-baccalaureate Indigenous student, you can ask questions or book a one-on-one advising appointment by emailing es.indigenous@ubc.ca.
  • During the academic year, on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 2:30 pm, drop into the UBC First Nations Longhouse to speak with an Enrolment Services Advisor and member of the Indigenous Student Support Team.
  • If you’re a UBC Okanagan student, please contact the UBC-O Indigenous Student Advising Team.

Meet the Indigenous Student Support Team