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University Costs After 1st Term

In 2009 I had 1 child in University. The costs became crazier when later I had 3 kids in different Universities, and 1 at home. The costs here are now low, keep that in mind.

My daughter has successfully completed her first term at University and has now started her second term so this might be a good time to update how the University Costs personal finance theme is going.

The grand total for this second 4 months, is about $7300 which would include:

  • Tuition fees
  • Residence fees
  • Meal Plan
  • Books
  • Many extra charges included in the tuition fees statement

This means the approximate cost of a 4 year degree looks to be almost $60,000 depending on costs and such (and hoping that costs do not rise significantly over the four years). I’d like to point out that the program my daughter is part of is a general Arts program, so please keep this in mind if you are planning for your child’s future (if your child looks at an Engineering, Architecture or medical program expect much higher charges). 

How much for that book?

This term’s book costs were not too bad except for 1 book which was completely out of whack from the other book prices. We attempted to find the book on the “used book” market, but this book was 25% of the cost of all the other books needed combined, but it needed to be bought so there was not much to be done about it (we paid full price).

When I went to Waterloo the Used Book Store was a booming concern, but the issue you have if you are in a technology program, a lot of times text books get revised a lot (at the time one of my courses changed from being taught in Fortran to Pascal, thus all old versions of the book were useless). Used books is a great way to save money, and selling books at the end of a term to the used book store is another cost saving idea for students too.

Meal Plan?

This is another new idea for me. When I lived in residence you had a single charge for residence and food was included in this charge, but now the cost of food has been separated so that folks can save money on the food portion of the residence charges. 

Many students don’t spend weekends in residence (they live close enough to commute home) so they would end up paying for meals they didn’t eat, so the Universities separated food services charges from room charges. With this new concept came an added bonus that most eating establishments on campus became part of the “meal plan” (not just the cafeteria), so you can choose where and what you want to eat (in fact some restaurants in greater Kitchener seem to be part of the program).

Food variety when I was at school consisted of whether you put hot dogs in your Kraft Dinner (that was 4 boxes for $1 at the time) or whether you left it plain. Yes, I am that old.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. You are really getting hosed with the residence and meal plan fees (I work at a university so I know how pricey such plans are). Next year your daughter should move off-campus and cook for herself – can easily shave $5,000 off annual costs (if she lives with other people and is frugal at the grocery store). She should also look into free money (lots of money goes unclaimed each year at my institution b/c no one bothers to apply) and also a part-time job so she can pay some of her expenses. I graduated not-too-long ago with a professional degree and my parents contributed $4,000/yr – I covered the rest. It isn’t necessary for parents to pay $60,000 for a child’s undergraduate degree.

  2. Don’t feel so bad, I’m known around the office as the guy to go to for financial help and questions on financial rules and taxes. We’ve recently set up a virtual stock market game for about 10 of us and I’m coming in dead last having dropped about 40% in 30 days . . . ouch. I guess in real life I’ll just stick to indexing.

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