There are many perks to attending a Canadian university. For one, you’ll get a multicultural experience as the country is rich in diversity with students choosing to live and study here from all over the world. Not to mention the plethora of world class education systems to choose from, most with flexible degree programs – another reason why Canada is attractive to local and international students alike.
But before you apply to the university of your dreams, it’s important to consider how you will fund your education.
Economists predict the cost of tuition at post-secondary institutions will only continue to rise. In fact, on average, tuition for university undergraduate programs for Canadian full-time students was $6,838 in 2018/2019, up 3.3% from the previous academic year.
This is why it’s important to start saving as early as possible – years before a university education is even on your radar. Committing to a sound savings plan now, like a Registered Education Savings Plan, RESP, which are managed and distributed through leading providers like Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI), can help mitigate some of the financial stress in the future.
First, identify how much you will need to save. This is often based on the type of school you think you will attend. Then, reach out to an investment professional to assist you. There is a lot of flexibility built into saving for higher education through an RESP. Your parents can help set the foundation for your future by making payments that work within their budgets.
Next, consider following the two-step education option. You may want to start off at an affordable two-year program or earn an associate’s degree before transferring on to a four-year university where you can earn your bachelor’s degree. This can drastically cut your post-secondary education expenses.
Another option to cut costs is to enroll in summer school. Many schools lower their tuition rates for students taking summer courses. If you’re willing to study when classmates might be working, doing internships or just leisurely enjoying their time off, you can save money on tuition.
International students may even be able to acquire additional funding for choosing to study in Canada. There are financial aid and scholarship programs available to international students who qualify. The same goes for Canadian students – there are many external scholarships out there so it is best to search and apply for as many as you can. This will increase your chances of gaining some extra funding.
In addition to financial aid and education savings plans, students may want to consider working part-time during the summer and breaks to earn a little extra cash. Even though the amount may not be substantial enough to pay for tuition, it will help offset some of those secondary costs like purchasing books and meal plans.
Applying to and attending a Canadian university is definitely an exciting rite of passage as a student. That is, if you don’t mind walking to class in snow and frigid temperatures! With a bit of planning, soon you will be on your way to earning a degree in the career of your choice.