As you know, post-secondary education and supports are not free like they were in high school. Determining how to finance your education will require careful planning. This module is designed to raise awareness and be an introduction to the costs involved in your post-secondary education. Everyone’s resources are different so it is important to assess your own financial situation and options for support to help you reach your educational coals. This is an important sit-down conversation you need to have with your parents. If your parents are not up-to-date with filing their income tax, you may be ineligible to apply for funding.
When considering your eligibility for a student loan, two important things you need to determine are:
- Determining your assets – the application will ask how much financial support you will receive from parents. If you are managing this on your own, you will need to indicate that there will be no financial support from parents. This will affect your available assets and will impact whether you can apply for a student loan.
- Calculating your expenses – don’t forget to factor in additional costs for your hearing access (e.g., batteries, hearing aids, communication devices).
You will need to take a close look at how much money you have available for your education. Sources of assets include, but are not limited to:
- Savings account
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Incomes from casual or part-time work
After clearly identifying the total assets, next you will need to figure out how much of these assets to put towards your post-secondary education. Many people feel that they must use ALL their money, which is inaccurate. Each person, regardless of what they need the money for, needs to save a set amount that can be used as a contingency fund (cash flow in case of an emergency).
It may be daunting to realize just how much money is involved, particularly factoring in the extra expenses related to your hearing access. Here are some of the recurring costs you will need to anticipate and plan for, throughout your post-secondary education. These are some of the important aspects to consider when calculating your total expenses.
- Tuition – check the breakdown of your tuition payment. In addition to course fees, there are other fees to consider, such as student union dues or student medical/ dental plans. These might be optional if you are already covered under another plan. Most schools will require to opt out during the first few weeks of the school year. Check with your institution about the various payment options, processes and deadlines.
- Books – most of the time the course list will recommend the latest edition of a textbook. However, it’s a good idea to reach out to your instructor to see if it is okay to buy earlier editions, as these can be less expensive. Most institutions also have an online listing where students sell used books. This can be beneficial in saving costs on textbook fees, sometimes between $150-200 worth of textbooks. Also consider whether or not these textbooks are available as e-books from sellers like Kobo and Amazon.ca. E-books are often cheaper than print books. Download the appropriate application to your laptop or tablet. These applications will allow you to read your e-books while highlighting text and adding notes.
- Living costs – while it can be thrilling to experience dorm life, living on campus, paying for groceries etc. can be more expensive, so it is important to consider all the options you have. You might also want to consider finding a nearby place to rent with several people that you trust. Finally, staying at home with parents can be a good thing too! It could allow you to use the money saved towards different opportunities, such as going on an international exchange!
Take some time to work out your costs – calculating your expenses and assets. Compare them and see whether you have a surplus (assets > expenses) or a deficit (expenses > assets). Afterwards, you will have a more clear picture when looking into applying for student loans and grants. The chart below highlights some information to get you started.
The above expenses are common to all students. For some who require additional necessities for communication access, there can be extra expenses incurred. For example:
- Batteries for hearing aids/cochlear implant processors – do you know how much they cost?
Let’s do the Math:
One box of battery packs (10 packs x 6 batteries each) costs $25.00. On average each battery lasts 3 days. You have two hearing aids, how much will it cost you to buy batteries for one year?
Answer: 60 batteries in total in one box split between two hearing aids, so 30 batteries are used for each. Assuming both batteries are used at the same time, one box will be used up in 90 days (30 x 3 days). 90 days is equivalent to 3 months, this means 4 boxes are needed for 12 months (1 year). 4 boxes x $25/box = $100.00.
With this in mind, the price of batteries varies depending on whether you purchase them from a drug store or your audiologist. Some brands of batteries may be more expensive but last longer.
TIP: How to make your hearing aid batteries last longer:
- Wait 2 minutes after removing the sticker from a new battery before using it. This will allow the battery to “activate”.
- If drying your hearing aids overnight, take the batteries out before placing your hearing aids in the drying capsule/electronic beaker.
It is important to be aware that not all devices are covered under conventional supports. For example, hearing aids/cochlear implant processors are not covered by any grants, so you need to be aware that these costs can range from $1000-3000 each, which can have a considerable impact on your finances.
The average lifespan of hearing aids, is 6 to 7 years. If your devices are nearing the end of their lifespan, your should see your audiologist at the public health unit as soon as possible. It is good to also know that there are more options for you to obtain funding before age 19. If you do end up having to search for new devices after turning 19, check to see if these can be covered under your parents’ extended health plan.
Also of note, newer models of hearings aids are rechargeable and may not require budgeting for batteries long term. This is one more thing to consider if you need new hearing aids.
Other communication devices:
If you are planning to live independently, there are other devices you may want to consider investing in, especially for safety reasons. The most popular ones for full inclusion in your environment are:
- Vibrating alarm clocks (for those who are deep sleepers)
- Bed shakers and strobe lights (to alert you when the fire alarm goes off or when someone is knocking/ringing a doorbell)
More devices available at the online Wavefront Shop
Perhaps you are thinking: I’m not sure if I will apply for a student loan. My parents have helped me out in the past. They won’t let me starve… so I probably won’t need a student loan. What’s the advantage if I apply?
- If my Student Loan BC application is approved, and I also filled out the Appendix 8 form, applications for any grants and bursaries will automatically be applied.
- If my Student Loan BC application is approved, and I also filled out the Appendix 8 form, I will be eligible for the Canada Student Grant for Equipment, which would allow me to apply for equipment such as a personal FM System.
- If my Student Loan BC application is approved, and I also filled out the Appendix 8 form, I only need to fill out the Appendix 8 once.
- All of the above.
Next you can explore the various options you have to finance your post-secondary education.