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University Costs Holy Crap!

University Costs was written just before I started figuring out the cost of having three kids in University, but it is still helpful to see my thought patterns.

As my oldest daughter gets closer to University, I am learning more and more about the relatively high cost of post-secondary education in Ontario. Last night was an open house for the Ontario Universities, and I attended with my daughter and came away with a few interesting thoughts:

  • There are many universities in Ontario, 21 were at this open house, and this does not include the community colleges.
  • University of Western Ontario’s “Pitch Kid” was the best of the night. He was quick on his feet, polite, funny and hit the high points for the kids and the parents. This kid should go into sales or should get a bonus for the job he is doing. Most of the other presenters were bland and could tell reading from a script.
  • This is going to be EXPENSIVE, but the Universities are not trying to hide this fact they all mention the price of education along with their lowest mark requirements, so it is helpful for the parents to hear the actual numbers!
The Resp Book: The Simple Guide To Registered Education Savings Plans For Canadians
A Useful Resource
Click to Indigo Link

How expensive, you might ask? Well, let’s go to my old Alma Mater and have them tell us how much a year at the University of Waterloo might be (Read Here for actual Waterloo Web Site):

  • The cheapest first year that you can expect would be in Mathematics, with a total cost of Academic costs (books, tuition) adding up to $5,700.00
  • The most expensive degree program would be Optometry at $15,200 in Academic fees and books.

How much to live there if you don’t live in Kitchener/Waterloo?

  • Somewhere from $5,900 to $8700 for the year, depending on if you live on or off campus and what kind of meal plan you buy.

Total costs estimated over eight months?

  • Domestic students : $14,300 to $26,600
  • International students: $24,800 to $45,500

Every school talked about financial help and bursaries too, but for those of you reading this who have 2-year-olds, start thinking about this NOW, NOW, NOW.

  • Start an RESP today, and put something in it, anything, to get started (not one of those silly ones from the doctor’s office, go to a bank or an investment house and get a REAL RESP).
  • Remember your child is going to school at age 18. Maybe do your savings calculations based on that. If your son is 3, you have 15 years or so to get somewhere near the $60K you might need to put them through school. Remember inflation. You are going to need more than that, so think about it.

Some parents say, “My parents didn’t help me get through University”, ok, that is a valid point, but how much did University cost back then? Do you want your kids graduating with a student loan load of over $70K?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Or just have your wife quit work- and have your tuition paid for- there’s free tuition in Ontario under OSG- no RESP needed, in some cases you’d be penalized for RESP with grant clawbacks.

    1. And that I don’t get. Penalizing for having an RESP? Seems a bit backwards to me. Free tuition for some… sounds like an odd battle cry (not a wrong one, just that maybe Ontario should make University free for those in Ontario? Or lower the tuition levels to that of Quebec?).

  2. I agree with your final paragraph. I am always amazed by blog comments along the “I paid for it all! Tell ’em to pull their socks up!” lines. Suggesting someone starts out in life $50k in debt, or takes ten years to finish a primary degree because they keep stopping to earn money, is not as trivial as some would suggest.

  3. I bought an education fund for my son’s RESP and feel that I am being gouged by the fees. The returns on it have been just lousy. I would agree with Jacobus that a self directed RESP is the way to go.

  4. Jacobus, with the group plan like that, how are you going to be sure there is enough for everyone when it’s done? We had our kids at different times so they each have their own plans. I wasn’t quite sure how it works. when the one goes to school, then the second, how do you ensure the third gets their fair share?

  5. Yes, to finally set up an RESP, We finally have a Social Ins. Number for our last child and now to do the process. My wife and I are going to set up self-directed Group RESP for our 3 kids. There are so many different plans out there to choose from and you have to do your homework as there is a big business and big commissions for sales people out there to sell you some of these plans. I remember when our first was born several years back, a sales person called us a week after he came home from the hospital. She wanted us to start paying immediately, but it was like reading an insurance policy–read the fine print!!! She left our home in haste and we never heard from her again!!

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