Consider Close to Home
Rent and living costs can add up to a huge expense over four years. If your relationship with your family is positive, living at home during your post-secondary years can save you a significant amount of money.
An increasing number of community colleges, many of which have low tuition fees, have transfer-credit agreements with universities. Studying art there for a year or two before transferring to to a degree-granting institution can save needed cash—just make sure the credits are transferable.
Share and Share Alike
When living away from home, live with roommates. Shared accommodation will cost $300 to $600 a month in most cities, while living alone can cost double that. Most universities run roommate-matching services and housing boards for just this purpose.
Do Your Part
Work part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer months. Most post-secondary institutions have special school-year and summer jobs reserved especially for students—perfect for getting to class on time and accumulating valuable art-related work experience.
Listen to Your Elders
Many instructors readily offer advice on which materials are must-purchase and which are extras. Listen up and your budget will thank you.
Make an appointment at your school’s awards office and apply for all the scholarships you qualify for, every semester. Many offices can also provide advice on loans and bursaries.
If you need to borrow money to fund your education, prioritize government loans, which often allow breaks in post-grad repayment during money-tight times. Many banks also offer loans and lines of credit to students, but those are generally less flexible in their repayment schemes. And be careful with credit cards—these are helpful in emergencies, but not meant to fund an education. If you’re stuck, visit your school’s financial-aid office for counselling and help.
Originally published in Canadian Art magazine, Winter 2009 print edition