The majority of students and their families have concerns about the financial burden of university/college fees. Financial planning for college students is very important to help ensure they are not victims of the debt trap. There are many ways to plan intelligently for university – below are some suggestions on university financial planning for students:
- Scholarships and Bursaries: When choosing a post-secondary institution, it is important to do research on scholarship programs that are available to you, and apply for those that suit you. To stay enrolled in most scholarship programs, you are required to maintain your grades at a certain level, so remember not to fall behind on your academics! Bursaries are also available for students who demonstrate a budget shortfall in their study period and are not awarded based on academic performance. Connect with a representative from your Financial Aid office for more details on bursaries specific to your University/College. Sometimes, there are extra funds available for the term, meaning even if you don’t necessarily qualify for the bursary, you might still receive a small amount of funding.
- Off-Campus Housing: For first year students, a significant amount of fees is spent on campus housing. Most universities charge a large sum of money for campus housing (i.e, meal plans, on campus housing events, housing arrangements with other students in your cohort etc.). These fees can be avoided by considering off-campus housing, resulting in considerably lower rent, utilities, etc. If you are attending the same university as friends, it may be worth renting a place together to make the process easier. If that option is not available to you, look for off-campus housing groups on social media platforms like Facebook, as people on those groups are always looking for roommates! The average price of housing fees in University is $7,719.60 (8 months) while compared to the average you would pay for off campus housing which would be $6,028.00. Get a better idea of these numbers here. It is important to note that these prices are average, based on popular universities, the amount can be more or less. While the off-campus housing experience is cheaper, it is harder to meet people and make friends in your cohort. To combat this, be sure to get involved in campus clubs and other events for first year students. Also consider going to a University that is close to your home or some family so you can live with them and save costs on campus housing or rent.
- Student Discounts: One thing that all students should take advantage of are the discounts available to you! From buying a new laptop or tech for your courses, to even grocery shopping, students get all sorts of discounts! As long as you have an active student card with your student number, you are eligible for all these discounts!
- Buying used textbooks: Another major expense is textbooks and course materials! Textbook costs are not included in your tuition, and are typically very high when purchased brand new from the school bookstore. Attempt to buy used textbooks or rent books from your university bookstore instead to significantly cut your costs and reduce your impact on the environment! Also, look for e-book options, which will reduce costs! Only buy textbooks if your professor says it is mandatory.
- Banking needs: Make sure to register for a student bank account. This will help you save money on monthly banking fees, e-transfers, and unnecessary transaction fees. may even receive sign-up offers! Check out some of our suggestions for student accounts here
Financial planning and budgeting for students is critical, as it will relieve you and your family of financial stress, and help you avoid taking student loans, or getting into other cycles of debt.