How To Pay For College

In 2014-2015, the average tuition for a full-time (two semester, eight months) student in Canada was close to $6,000 annually. Factor in living, books, and other general life expenses and a domestic student should be looking at approximately $15,000 per year they’re pursuing their excellence in higher education.

Well, ok. So how on earth does a snot-nosed kid coming out of high school whose biggest accomplishment on their resume is, “Cashier – McDonald’s” come up with a minimum of $75,000 for education? The following is a definitive power ranking of options, ranked on a combination of feasibility and how lucrative they are.

10. Commuting – You can slash anywhere from five to eight thousand from your annual undergraduate bill by not living on campus and eating mom and dad’s home-cooked food. That said, the trepidation of getting assaulted by a homeless guy or not having enough energy to actually learn anything once your life force is drained from public transit is real. Not to mention all the extracurricular education you’re missing out on.

9. Student Loans/Lines of CreditMark Cuban claims that the accruing of student debt is comparable to the housing bubble. Well, apparently banks and private institutions don’t care. They are more eager to leverage your brain for profit than ever. Same with the federal government; they’re still willing to provide you with 60% of whatever you need to get that piece of paper. And it’s interest-free…until you graduate.

8. Doing Your First Few Years at a College – The per-credit tuition basis for a course at UBC is a horrific $166.27. The per-credit tuition rate at Douglas College is a mildly awful $97.70.

Some quick math: your UBC MATH 101 course (and most of your other first-year courses) are 3-credit courses. 166.27 times 3 is 498.81. At Douglas (or VCC, Kwantlen, or other “college”), that number is just under 300. Your full first-year at UBC is 30 credits or 10 of those classes.

See what I’m getting at? You’re basically saving $200 per 3-credit class by taking them at a college. Also, newsflash: if you’re taking a fairly nonspecific degree like Science, Arts, Engineering, or Business…there are ALWAYS equivalencies for first/second-year classes available at colleges that cost a fraction of the price. They’re also easier, too.

7. Working hospitality or construction – You’ve definitely met someone who talks about making $300 in tips serving tables. Or you’ve heard of how someone “went up north” in the summer for four months and made enough money to pay for everything. That said, neither of these options is for the faint of heart. Ever wonder what somebody feels when they don’t get tipped on a $300 bill? Well, it’s horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. So is working a 10-16 hour day in labor. This is how alcoholism starts.

6. Becoming an RA/Working for a Student Society – The person who ran my school newspaper when I was there made enough money to pay for most of their tuition while doing something they liked. They were also working an extra 30 hours of a week. If you’re the type of person who really thrives on being busy and can keep up with school, this is a great option. If you’re willing to become a residence advisor, you’ve just made the same savings as commuting, except you actually get to live on campus.

5. Internships – This is slightly better than the above because internships are often done in the summer when you’re not in school and you can focus on both separately.

It’s a little harder, though. You have to redo your LinkedIn page and pretend to care about somebody’s new clean energy idea at some conference you had to miss formal over, but hey, do what you gotta do.

4. Going to School in Germany – You know what reading this article and studying in Germany have in common? They’re both a waste of time and free! F-R-E-E.

Just kidding! German universities are just as good as our domestic counterparts, allegedly. Just don’t expect to have much of a college experience. Apparently our Teutonic friends have never watched Animal HAUS.

On the flip side…you are living in Europe, and comparing Homecoming to Oktoberfest…I mean, come on. Getting drunk and eating pizza is so much less cultured than getting drunk and eating spätzle.

3. Athletic Scholarships – We’ve officially entered free money zone! Getting money for things you’ve already done…namely, being good at sports. The downside to it? It’s basically similar to an internship or working for the school, because if you don’t consider bag skates at 6 am and team meetings at 5 pm work then I don’t know what is. Since we’re in Canada, these things are not as good as academic scholarships in the US because Canadian schools are unable to offer scholarships that exceed, or even approach tuition and student fees.

2. Academic Scholarships, Bursaries, and Grants – You can get scholarships for just about anything. Every school has some form of “President’s Entrance”, or “National Entrance” scholarship (AKA getting inflated high school grades).

School not your forte? Well, get creative. My biggest regret coming into college was not being better at making a good peanut butter sandwiches. Like, $25,000 good.

1. The United Bank of Mom and Dad – In 2015-2016, a nation-wide survey reported a -%89 in student interest fees from the UBMD. Apparently, these people will loan you up to $100,000 so you can take six years to complete a four-year degree you never end up using! You know how CIBC or the CSLP need “eligibility requirements” to be fulfilled? Not at UBMD. Also, they won’t figure it out if you don’t buy any of your POLI 121 books. They’re boring. That money can be well spent on refreshments (beer) at your next networking (hitting on freshmen girls) event (a party) at a venue you can begin a tab at (the Bimini).

0. Literally cry and die – No one will judge you. Love, PGB.

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