The Tuition Circle

Sunday, my wife and I and my two daughters (who are still at University) sat at the kitchen table to tackle the odious task of applying for OSAP grants and paying for tuition for the coming school term.

This whole thing took about 1 and a half hours and at the end of it we had to:

This is not very cheap

This is not very cheap

  • Reference the school(s) web site(s) to find the fees that need to be paid (and evidently library fines too). At the end of it, we actually had to check on 3 different University sites (one of my daughters is taking a course that includes courses from two different schools). This was just to get Tuition, if you have a child in residence you may have to check in different parts of the web site to find all the fees.
  • Have copies of mine and my wife’s latest tax forms for the OSAP application.
  • Know how much your children have made this year as income.
  • Balances of any RESPs that you have set up for your kids
  • Have all the printers for all 3 computers you are using because you are going to be printing out forms for the OSAP application (no kidding my kids didn’t have the house printer set up).
  • A pen to sign all the forms for your kids.
  • The OSAP forms then have to be dropped off at school in some fashion or another, and if this is the first time your child is applying, they will either need a cheque or something form the bank for where the Grant/Loan will be put (or you can say have the money go directly to the school which cuts out this part of the fun and games)

At the end of this I had to pay the tuition but even that isn’t as easy as you think because one school allows me to pay with my Credit Card (hey I get PC Points from that so I am happy), however two of the other schools only allow me to pay on line with my bank, and in that case I need to know when the Tuition is due, because I am only going to pay that on the day it is due.

All in all, an interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Oh and we haven’t looked at books and such either.


Back to School (Monetary Nightmare)

September used to mean a month of big expenses. When we had 3 kids in University the amount of money spent was astounding. Back to school meant fees, moving costs, rent and many more big expenses. Luckily we had RESPs to help out.

For those of you who are worried about buying pens, pencils, binders and such, allow me to say, “You have no idea of what is coming down the tracks at you”. As your child moves up the academic levels, it all starts getting much more expensive, and it does so at a higher rate than you might guess.

So far this summer we have already paid for:

  • Four months rent on an apartment that no one has lived in. To be fair no one lived in it for 3 months, someone has now moved into it.
  • A new computer for school, because you can’t go to school without one now.
  • Back to school supplies on steroids, allow me to share a photo of the stash so far (this is only for 1 child):
A Back to School Heap: Note the telescope is not part of the haul
  • Tuition for 1 child, however, since she is attending two different schools (effectively), I still have to pay the other school’s fees. That is for one child, then I have the other child’s fees still to pay.
  • A new student orientation weekend, which sounded like fun, but sure wasn’t cheap.
  • Oh and I have paid for a car trip to and from Nova Scotia, and will have to pay for at least two trips to Peterborough in the very near future.
  • Did I mention my son’s tuition costs? No, don’t worry you will hear about that one soon.

Does this sound like me whingeing and moaning? Spot on, is anybody else living through this, or have you lived through it and now are enjoying having disposable income again? Feel free to reply with “suck it up butter cup” as well, I look forward to the “why are you paying for your kids post-secondary education” comments too.

Other Back to School Thoughts?


Summer Time Plans for the Fall?

What are your plans for the fall? Given September is not that far away, do you have a plan?

For many folks September really is just another month, and I hope some time in my life it returns to that state, however if you have children, you know full well that the month of September can actually be one of the biggest outlay months of the year (yes even bigger than December (or January for that matter)).

I used to think that September expenses were out of control when my kids were in elementary school and even high school, but as you all know, once they got to University it was a completely different creature (or problem).

In High School you pay for:

The first few times you go through this, it really feels like a lot of money, but then you hit the University Years where your costs are the above plus:

  • Tuition, if you are Canadian you are looking at $4,000 or so in these costs (every 4 months), if you live in the states, I have no idea how you pay that. Better hope your RESP has enough in it.
  • Books, could be anywhere from $250+ (in Engineering and other areas could be over $750)
  • Living expenses, if they move away from home try for $2500 to $5000 every four months again

Or, maybe not, maybe your kid is paying for it themselves, so maybe September is a wonderful time, because you get to keep your money (anybody out there like that)? Maybe your kid is in a co-op program? Maybe your kid is getting a bunch of grants?

What is your September going to look like? A tsunami of spending, or just another month? Might be time to make plans for the fall .



Happy Civic Holiday Ontario

Yes, even I take holidays (my wife doesn’t believe that, but I do). Happy Civic Holiday Ontario.

Today is the Holiday with No Name in Ontario, but some of the other names I have seen it called:

  • Civic Holiday, boy that shows a lot of imagination, doesn’t it?
  • August Bank Holiday, I like that one because it has a UK feel to it.
  • Colonel By Day, after the chap that helped build Ottawa and the Rideau Canal
  • Simcoe Days, for those living around the lake
  • Aaahh crap, why did I come into the Office, it’s a Holiday! Day, yes I know someone who went into the office for one of these and said those exact words.
  • Only 1 Month ’til School Starts Day! OK, I made that one up but it is true.

Loblaws seems to be open today (as my daughter has a shift working there), so if the stores are open, have at it folks, let the back to school carnage begin!!!

Coat of Arms of Ontario

Ontario’s Coat of Arms, Cool eh?


Back to School

The NFB has a very topical back to school video for we parents who are looking forward to the resumption of classes.

Nightmare at School is an interesting view on starting high school (which was traumatic for me at least).

Who hasn’t felt apprehensive at the thought of starting high school? This is the central theme of this short animated film. Playing on imagination and humour, the director offers viewers a thought-provoking piece dealing with the transition that young people between the ages of 10 and 13 experience. Inspired by the work of Escher and Magritte, Catherine Arcand has created a graphically rich film through optical illusions and trompe-l’oeil effects. Her style aptly illustrates the theme of perceptions and is perfectly suited to conveying the dream world into which the film takes us. A film without words.

Nightmare at School, Catherine Arcand, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


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