university costs

How Do I Estimate My University and College Costs?



Depending on the school or program, a student attending CEGEP, trade school, college or university full-time today can expect to pay between $2,500 and $8,000 per year or more for tuition alone.

Tuition may vary for different reasons:

  • Program choice – Some programs charge more than others so you might want to investigate costs upfront.
  • Co-op – Co-operative education programs usually last longer and cost more than regular full-time programs. However, the benefits of co-op programs may outweigh the higher costs—co-op students are generally paid for their work terms and gain valuable work experience.
  • Class type – The format of lectures, lab time and, the number of teaching assistants may affect tuition fees.
  • Student Fees – Some schools include fees in tuition costs to fund certain services, clubs, and events.
  • Other factors – The school’s location (urban vs. rural setting), the type of institution, and the years of schooling required are other factors that can also influence costs.


The cost of books can influence the overall amount of money that you’ll need for school. Several options are available to you with regards to books.

  • School bookstore – Buying new books each semester can be an expensive choice, though you benefit from the most recent editions.
  • Second-hand books – With the right amount of time and patience, buying used books can be a much less expensive alternative. Visit used bookstores or look for signs and pamphlets around campus advertising used books.
  • Borrow books – If you know someone who has taken the same course, simply ask to borrow the books.
  • Buy books online – You can get both new and used books online. But be patient: shipping may take a while. You may also want to see if you and some of your fellow students can negotiate a discount by buying your books together in bulk.

Living Expenses

Living expenses can make up a big chunk of the money you’ll have to pay out during school. For example, residence fees can be upwards of $8,000 (including a meal plan). This can double or, in some instances, triple post-secondary expenses. 

If you are going away to school, housing (i.e. rent or residence fees) will form a large part of your living expenses, but there are others to consider.