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Staying the Course: Learning Beyond High School

A better education can mean a better future. But if you're on your own, staying in school may not be easy. These resources can help.

Learning opens up opportunities and can help you get what you want in life. Going to school allows you to build skills, discover strengths, and gain experience. And let’s face it—education pays.

A government report compared men who had only a high school diploma with men who earned a college diploma, apprenticed in a skilled trade, or earned a bachelor’s degree. Finishing college increased earnings by 7% and learning a trade grew earnings by 31%. Having a bachelor’s degree allowed men to earn 42% more than men with only a high school diploma.

The same study found that a college diploma earned women 41% more than women who only completed high school. And women with a bachelor’s degree brought in 58% more. That’s more than double what women with only a high school diploma earned.

Thinking about continuing your education can be scary. Going to a new place to do it can make it even harder. And if the road to get this far has been bumpy, it can be scarier still.

But as you step into adult life, you can see that you’ve already learned many things and have much to offer. That will open doors for you as you follow your career path.

Taking control of your future gives you choices. And if you continue your education, you’ll have the chance to find a group of friends and helpful adults while you learn.

Grab those last high school credits

A high school diploma is the first step toward a job that pays well.

If you need a few more credits, online learning, outreach programs, and upgrading mean you don’t have to go back to the school you used to attend.

Dual Credits let you take courses in high school to learn about a skilled trade. This can prepare you to start working sooner.

You can also get your diploma by passing General Educational Development (GED) tests.

Not sure how to get into an apprenticeship, or which college is best for you, or if university is an option? The Still in high school? Start Planning Your Career Now page will help you decide.

Money for school

Paying for school and living expenses can feel like too much. But scholarships, bursaries, and other programs can help you pay for both.

Remember, you won’t have to pay for healthcare if you have your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) number. Also, most post-secondary schools offer extra health benefits.

If you’re leaving Children’s Services, you may be able to join the Advancing Futures Program. It’s designed for youth aged 18 to 24 who were in government care. The program provides funding as well as social and emotional supports while students are going to school.

The program will fund:

  • up to $40,000 in required education costs, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and some technology
  • a living allowance
  • transportation costs
  • the full parent portion of subsidized childcare
  • a health benefit plan
  • a security deposit for an apartment

Education can cost a lot, but you can find help. And learning is always a good way to invest in your future.

Additional resources

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