School’s Out For The Summer

Students must find well-paying summer positions and learn budgeting techniques to be able to afford their 2012/13 tuition.

School will be winding down soon for the summer and for many students it means working frantically full-time to earn enough for next-year’s tuition.

According to Statistics Canada, full-time students in undergraduate programs paid on average $5,138 in tuition fees in 2010/2011 (4% more) compared with $4,942 a year earlier. Ontario had the highest increase for the 2010/2011 school year at 5.4 per cent for a full-year tuition of $6,307. These figures do not take into account the cost of books, living expenses, transportation or food.

Students need well-paying summer positions to be able to afford a post-secondary education in Canada today. Equally as important, they need to understand how to budget their earnings and enjoy their summer while still saving enough to last for the school year. As parents, we don’t want our children to mortgage their education by taking out loans or using lines of credit. Starting a working career with a large debt load is never an attractive proposition, especially if interest rates are set to rise.

Budgeting Works

First-year university students generally live on campus and participate in a meal plan. However that doesn’t preclude them from eating out, frequenting the fast food restaurants or local coffee shops. These are the places where students are likely to spend the most cash, without thinking about their budget.

Students need to learn how to track expenses to see exactly where they are spending their money. Looking at it in black and white can be a real eye opener. It’s the best way to determine if they are over-spending in one area and not saving enough for tuition.

Dividing spending into these three categories will help with the process:

  • Fixed – tuition, school fees, rent
  • Flexible – cell phone, books, food or meal plan, utilities
  • Fun – free time activities

It is important to take a hard look at the flexible and fun areas for opportunities to reduce or eliminate expenses. Students can rent rather than buy textbooks from and opt for a minimum meal plan where the money won’t go to waste if they want to eat out occasionally.

Helpful Tools

There are a also number of free online tools available to today to help students on a budget manage their money.

  • Consolidated Credit booklet ‘Budgeting 101: Your Money Guide for Getting Through School’
  • Search the Internet for apps to download to track expenses

Students are encouraged to research every possible avenue to acquire additional funding for their university education. Visit It’s a free scholarship-matching service devoted to helping Canadian high school, college and university students by providing information about scholarships, bursaries, grants, fellowships and other forms of financial assistance.

Links mentioned in this article:

Jeffrey Schwartz, Executive Director, Consolidated Credit

Counseling Services of Canada, Inc, 1-888-294-3130,

[email protected]

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