Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back to School, Back to $$ Broke

Let's Talk Money

Post secondary education is expensive.
However, it is my personal belief that you can't put a dollar amount on the cost of learning.
Knowledge is power.   Learning is a life-time experience, inside the classroom and out.
So while my children struggle with the costs of University, I believe it is an excellent investment.
And I will always help where I can with this cost of learning.

However, there are some aspects of University I question.
Residence costs.  Utterly wrong.
My son was looking and wanting to live in residence this year.
The cost for the entire 8 month academic year was $10,000, this includes his meal card.
Okay, fine.
But, but...they wanted the entire amount, upfront before school started in September.
Yeeeeeah....over my dead body!

Most parents of first year students will dish out this dough without hesitation.
Until Johnny or Jane realizes that this program is not for them, or this school is not for them, or have decided to quit and take a Gap Year.
Say bye-bye to your hard earned $10, will never see that again.

A few years ago, I was that parent with child #1 when she was attending University for the first time.
By November, everything changed for her.  She wanted to switch majors, switch schools.
And that's what happened.
We lost all that money for residence, plus the cost of her meal card.
At the time, it was $8,000 we lost.
A tough lesson to be learned by both Mom and child.


 My son will be attending school in a new city that is 3 hours away from home this Fall.
He thought that he might feel more comfortable in the school's residence.
However, he has decided to do things a bit differently.
He is excited about starting this new program, but questions if this is something he wants to study long-term.
Maybe he will like it or maybe he won't.
I think this is a wise and mature way for him to approach this new program of his.
So, he will live with roommates for the first part of  the school year and in the winter live in residence.
That way, if he decides he does not like his new program or his new city, he can return to his old program and school.
 He can make that manoeuvre fairly easy by giving proper notice to his Landlord, and move on with no financial lose.
And if he stays, when winter rolls around he moves into residence and only pays half the costs.


I know he would prefer to live in residence for the social part of it, but he is not willing to risk so much money all at once.
As his mother, I would prefer he live in residence.  It makes me feel more secure knowing and hoping he is safe.

I am a true believer in taking baby steps, especially in money matters.
So it is hard for me to understand why the rules of Residence want their money all upfront?
Most first year University or College students are under the age of 20.
Just beginning to start their life.  Unsure.  Making decisions on their own.
Wouldn't life for them be so much easier if they could live in Residence and simply rent like the rest of us, month to month?
Or at least a four month lease, paying the rent one month at a time.

If is really necessary for the school's Residence to take all the money upfront?
Give the students a break!
Give them a chance to be our future........



  1. I did not go away to school, as I should have. My daughter was so undecided I felt it best for her and my nieces and nephews that they go to community college to begin with, then ease their way into school. That way they get use to the way classes work before making a commitment. If they would have known what they wanted, it would be a different matter. So many kids end up leaving school to go back's not worth it anymore...too much money lost. It's tough enough.

  2. I don't know that you have to do all that here. But I don't know. It took me forever to get my degree because I was a young mother. I've long since forgotten.

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  4. Lovely photos by the way...yeah, I totally see your point, that is INSANE! It isn't like that at all in England luckily, I dropped out in my first year of law school and only lost a couple of hundred pounds. Your son does sound like he is taking a very sensible approach though!

  5. I can't remember how we paid for our for son's year in the dorm. He hated it, but we thought it would be good for him! 😁

  6. My children have gone to universities of Waterloo and King's (in Halifax) and they only wanted the fall terms payment in the summer and then we paid the rest at Christmas time. Makes a lot more sense, doesn't it.