Dec. 21, 2020

Managing your student finances

Students can find managing their finances to be overwhelming. Additionally, students have to think about savings and their financial future, while balancing student loans and repayment.
Managing your student finances

As a student, there are lots of little things you can do to improve how you manage your finances. It starts with learning more and gaining financial literacy. Read on for more tips and resources to keep your finances in check.


Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult. It starts with identifying your income and expenses, and balancing what you need versus what you want. There’s nothing worse than running out of money a week before payday, so make a budget you’re comfortable with and stick to it.

UCalgary’s Money Smart program has some great tips for starting your budget and other resources for things like estimating costs and tracking expenses. The Government of Canada website also has student budget information and an online budgeting tool.

It’s not too early to plan for your financial future, especially if you have student loans. Repayment can be a big source of worry for graduates, but remember that you’ll have a six-month interest-free period after graduation before you need to start repaying. An emergency fund is also a good place to start when thinking about savings.

Want to ask an expert your burning budget questions? Check out Money Smart’s one-on-one financial planning support.

Student loans

If you’re receiving a large sum of income at once, like student loan funding, it can be tempting to think you have more disposable cash than you actually do. Make sure you have a solid budget and stick to it to avoid overspending and running out of money by the end of the year.

If you’ve applied for a government student loan, your enrolment needs to be confirmed by the university before it will be approved. Make sure you’ve submitted your confirmation of enrolment through the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) website. Your student loan application information, like your name, program and enrolment details (that is, whether you’re a full- or part-time student), must match your university registration.

If you’ve applied as a full-time student and that changes, you’ll need to update to your information. You can see the status of your loan through your student centre ( under My Financials. If there are any errors related to your loan, they will show up under the Government Student Aid section. Learn more from Enrolment Services.

If you’ve already received a student loan and are returning to school, you may have the option to extend your interest-free period.

More resources

Check out the Alberta government’s website for career, learning and employment information. They also have more financial literacy resources and a handy guide to making the most of your money.

If you have other questions about course registration, fees, awards, student loans, grades or advising, speak to Enrolment Services (ES) via their virtual service desk via Zoom. The virtual desk is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every other weekday.