Why sending a child to university is cheaper than you think

Parents in for a pleasant surprise

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From the Summer 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Many parents steel themselves for a hefty bill when their kids head off to college: Canadian universities estimate a typical student will spend $20,000 a year on living expenses, rent and academic fees. But financial planner Barbara Garbens says that when you look at your out-of-pocket expenses, you could be in for a pleasant surprise.

That’s because costs like clothing, transportation, groceries and entertainment aren’t additional—they’re already part of your family’s budget. It’s also worth remembering that most students are eligible for some kind of tuition assistance these days. In Ontario, students whose parents make less than $160,000 per year receive a 30% tuition rebate (or about $1,800).

On top of that, students who work full-time during the summer can reasonably help subsidize schooling costs by $4,000.

Possible savings over one school year*

Total cost: $20,000

-$4,700 existing living expenses

-$4,000 student contribution through job

-$1,800 tuition rebate

Actual Cost: $9,500

* 8 months

5 comments on “Why sending a child to university is cheaper than you think

  1. What great bit of boondoggle. Four years at $9,500 is $38,000 and then what? Does the child return home highly educated with no employment in sight? Better by far to go to College and get a trade, then at least they could find some paying work and leave home.


    • Have to agree with Gee Whiz that many bachelor degrees are no longer very valuable. Stephen Harper is obviously horrified by science and technology. (And arts ? Forgetaboutit!), The former employee of Imperial Oil has created policies have ensured that the vast majority of new jobs in this country are related to oil or real estate. ( As of March, Statistics Canada reported that Alberta is responsible for almost all the new net jobs generated in the past year!) So a few jobs for the many engineering graduates (With salaries battered down by the flood of job seekers, natch.) and many jobs for maintaining oil pipes. Yeah, good paying jobs- until this oil boom ends. The rest of you new U grads? ReMax and Cosco await!


  2. That’s great for Ontario but what about the rest of us? Why can’t they offer the $4000 in other provinces? Besides- I agree with the last comment- to what end? Our daughter has graduated with very hi grades in University and now VOLUNTEERS as there are no jobs available!


  3. I’m fairly sure it doesn’t cost most families an additional $400/month to house their child, so I really don’t understand the “living expenses” column unless it also includes food (which would still be very very high). I also can say from experience getting a job that will give you $4000 in a summer can be difficult to find – ANY job can be difficult to find, especially for only the summer. Also keep in mind that the tuition rebate only applies to young students on their first degree, straight out of high school. Not everyone will qualify just as most people don’t actually qualify for OSAP either.


  4. What would the rebate be for parents that make 200K?


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