Planning ahead for the cost of education

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Planning ahead is critical for students trying to juggle part-time jobs and the cost of college, experts say.

In the 1990s, an average tuition was around $1,464 and the minimum was about $7.65 an hour. Today, tuition for university is around $6,500 and tuition for college is around $5,500, and the minimum wage is $11.25 an hour.

Let’s say you work four days a week for eight hours. You get $360 a week if you get paid the full eight hours. It would take 14 weeks to get $5,040. That’s five months of working.

Director of Financial Aid and Awards Laurie Jackson says the most common issue students, especially international students, face financially is a lack of planning. “They don’t apply on time and expect the money to be in their bank account of the first day, and they don’t bring enough money.” The process of getting OSAP money and loans is explained and students are told to wait and watch their bank accounts.

Sheridan offers many forms of financial aid including OSAP, bursaries, grants and scholarships. The scholarships offered change every year and are given to around 5,000 students to help offset the cost of tuition. All of these can be found at Sheridan’s financial aid page.

Students may start planning their finances during high school and plan to help their parents pay tuition or to help pay for the books they need. Some high school seniors are lucky enough to already know that the money they earned over the summer can be put toward fun. “It was for leisure money,” says Avery Mayeur, a Grade 12 at Humberside Collegiate Institute in Toronto. “But I will help my parents pay for books.”

Many students work during the school year, and this sometimes makes a big impact on their school work, as they try to balance school, homework and jobs.

“I’m attempting to balance it out,” says Diana Selemeneva. “I didn’t really figure it out yet.”

Students must try to plan their work schedule around their school schedule and sometimes miss class or have to leave early to make it to work on time. “I’ve definitely missed school to go to work,” says Jasmine Lightfoot, who is currently studying jewellery making at George Brown College.

Living away from home costs a lot. To live in residence at Trafalgar Campus for one academic year, students can choose to do one payment of $7,300, or two payments. The first payment is $4,700 and the second is $2,700, a total of $7,400, due to an additional $100 administration fee.

Sheridan student Alexa Cordeiro is lucky enough to have her parents subsidizing her room in residence. She and her roommate have also figured out a way to split the cost of food. “We find common foods and split it down the middle at the end of the semester.”

Living at home can be quite expensive as well, if you need to take transit to school. MiWay and Oakville Transit have a fee of $3.50. For one semester, the total a student pays is $490 in transportation. This is only for going to school and back.

“I think the minimum wage needs to go up to above the poverty line, and I would be overjoyed if it did,”-Tessa Ivison, second year university student.

The minimum wage will be increasing from $11.25 an hour to $11.40 an hour as of Oct. 1.