University expenses: Why it's cheaper than you think

Why sending a child to university is cheaper than you think

Parents in for a pleasant surprise

Image courtesy of anankkml/

(Image courtesy of anankkml/

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