Paying For Tuition-Tips & Tricks

Paying for tuition is probably my least favourite thing to do, aside from cleaning bathtubs and well cleaning in general. But straying away from all of my least favourite things to do, the though of losing a nice chunk of my summer earnings in the click of a button is not the greatest feeling in the world. That being said I hadn’t really thought about strategically paying for tuition until the other night. I have been fortunate to work co-op jobs of and on between my undergraduate degree and have been saving up money every term so I can pay for the following school semester. And sadly I had naively though that all people had the money waiting around so they could simply click a button and pay off their tuition.

That being said I’ve realized that there are a lot of different factors/sources of money that go into paying off some people’s tuition for the each semester compared to mine which lacks much complexity at all (since I have worked co-op jobs throughout university the government no longer gives me much in the way of student loans, I haven’t applied since 3rd year and no longer can receive the Ontario provincial credit because my degree program is 5 years in length)

paying for tuition

Paying for Tuition-Sources of Money

These obviously vary by individual, but these are possible sources of money for students.

  • Money made from a Summer Job
  • Government Student Loans
  • In Ontario the 30% off tuition rebate
  • Scholarships/Bursaries/Grants
  • Line of Credit/Loans through the bank
  • RESP’s set up by your parents

All of the above are sources of money that you can use to pay for the semesters tuition, some options are much better than others and to be honest if possible try to avoid getting a line of credit or additional loans through your bank unless you need to. Those have higher interest rates and/or start charging you interest as soon as you take the money out versus. government loans where you don’t start getting charged interest until after you graduate.

Paying for Tuition-Strategic Plan

Below are some points to consider when it comes to strategically paying for tuition and how best to use the funding sources mentioned above.

  • Government student loans sometimes can cover a nice portion of your tuition AND you often receive more money in the first semester than the second, this means you will probably be relying more on your summer work $’s in the second semester.
  • Based on timing the Ontario tuition rebate is often late, this won’t be possible to use during your first semester but instead can be all used towards your 2nd semester (this might require additional some job $’s to be used instead)
  • If you have enough RESP $’s to cover everything don’t use your student loans to pay off your tuition, get it direct deposited into your bank account and if you don’t like risk it can collect interest in a high interest savings account. Chat with your parents about RESP’s it can really help you with the planning of your tuition payments.
  • For those that saved up quite a bit of money over the summer or through a variety of $ sources and have money sitting in an account unused until next semester you should really consider investing in safe stocks that have dividends. You are more likely to get a stronger return than a savings account and also won’t spend the money if you can’t access it (since it’s tied up in stocks). Once it’s time to use the money next semester cash out/sell your stocks and you’ve made a bit of money instead of letting the $’s just sit around
  • In most cases if people don’t find they need government loan dollars they will no longer apply and sign there forms to keep interest free status until after grad. If you are a savvy investor sign up for the loans and invest the money you receive. By doing so you can then turn the money around and pay off a nice portion of your student loan before you start getting charged interest.
  • Not much can be said about scholarships and bursaries, they are just awesome, reduce stress and most of all are helpful for students. If a scholarship leaves you ahead in dollars on tuition payments(summer money, government loans etc.), once again put the access money in a high interest savings account or invest it.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully I haven’t confused you with all of the info above but if you really want to make use of the money sources you have it’s best to really give it a think instead of just paying your tuition and letting whatever other money you have sit and not collect interest.

The simplest thing to do for those that don’t want to invest is to just put whatever money you aren’t using for tuition, books, living expense and put it in a high interest savings account. Don’t touch the money or use it unless it’s really necessary, because there’s always next semesters tuition to worry about as well. Earn a little interest here and there until it’s time to use the money next semester.

Those who want to take on a little bit more risk can invest in “safe” stocks like utilities (ie. Bell) or even the banks who provide dividends. Why not make use of money sitting around? And there’s the option for people that are risk takers to invest in options, I have yet to do so based on my lack of understanding and a little bit of fear.

There are a variety of options for students when paying for tuition, but what is most important is for you to keep track of the outstanding loans that you do have. It will not be the nicest of surprises when you notice that you owe a lot more than you thought when you’re close to graduating.

It’s been about 8 months now since I’ve been at school and to be honest I’m a little excited. Soon I’ll start reminiscing about all of the good times since I’m almost done, but I’ll stop while I’m ahead. Don’t sweat tuition payments there are a lot of options out there for you to get by 🙂

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