The Cost of University Residence

One of the more interesting discussions I have had with folks about the cost of University, is the cost of a child to go away to University. In most cases, children (for some time) who live away from home to go to school will live in Residence (or on campus housing of some kind). On campus housing when I was at school usually included the cost of food and such, but even that has changed.

How much can “Residence” cost? I can only draw on my own experiences and residence with food is now costing upwards of $4000 per term, or about $8000 a year.

Before I get a plethora of comments about how living off campus is cheaper, and getting your own apartment is cheaper, I realize that but let’s just stay on topic for now, and work with the $8000 per year cost of going to school away from home (note I have not included the costs of getting the child to and from this foreign place, which depending on the foreign location could be quite expensive as well (a child wanting to go to Memorial in Newfoundland whose parents live in Vancouver, this cost would be huge)).

This figure is $8000 without actually going to school, and this can mean that if the child stays in residence for a 4 year degree is could cost well over $30,000.00, which is a very large amount of money.

One of the interesting solutions I have heard from a few parents is that they have offered their own children (who are near post secondary age) access to a car (or outright buying a car), if their child chooses to stay in town and lives at home during their degree. Is this bribery? Maybe, but it does have some method to the madness as well:

  • The cost of a good used car is much less than $8000 a year (gas, insurance, and parking).
  • If you already have an extra car, it can cost a great deal less than this.

I have made this offer to my youngest child, but I am confident she will not take me up on the offer (unfortunately her two older siblings have gone away, and she does not want to stay at home, if it means she might have to watch her younger brother).

Strangely we have had folks have very strong negative reactions to this idea, and I am not sure I completely understand the concern. The reaction usually is, “Why are you wasting that money, you should save it!”, but is this solution really ‘wasting’ money? I don’t think so, but I am curious to hear my reader’s point of view on this interesting financial plan.


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