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With the ever-increasing tuition fees, textbook costs and rent expenses some students are starting to question if a degree is an affordable option, The last data I have from the Canadian Federation of Students, "the average university student in Canada graduates with a heavy debt load of $37,000. It seems that we in Ontario the tuition fees are among the highest in the country.

Staying at home with your parents in Dorchester while attending Western or it's 3 Diamond affiliates, King's, Huron, or Brecia College tuition fees for full-time students are $7, 975 that includes activity
fees including a LTC bus pass.

If you want to stay in the residence including the cost of food you are looking at $18,474 per school
year. I have not factored in the cost of books from the bookstore or an evening out to take in a movie.

Do the math and the cost can easily total $20,000 per school year. Depending on the degree you can
be attending university for 3, 4 or 5 years . Gosh, graduating students and their parents may be on the hook for $100,OO0. to receive an Honours Degree. A Masters 5th year or the chance at PHD
designation (Poppa has Dough) does not guarantee a job with a Poli

Sci degree .

Not to worry if you do not have the funds for schooling there is always the Ontario Student Aid Program to help you with your cost of schooling.

The "Pay back" OSAP/Ontario web site is important to read before signing on the line to receive government loans. "You have six months after you graduate or leave full time studies before you
need to start repaying your OSAP loans " During this six months grace period you will not be charged interest on the Ontario/Canadian portion of your loans Payments are sent to the National Student Loans Service Centre Your payment schedule of principal plus interest are based on a 9 ?? years pay back schedule which is the average amount of time it takes to pay back OSAP student loans."

For low income families there is the possibility that most of the fee structure will be considered as grants and with little or no loan payments due after leaving the post secondary education program of your choice. Every application is scrutinized on its individual merits.

There is a scary section: "If you don't make your loan payments, you will be in default. Your debt will
be turned over to a collection agency, you will be reported to a credit bureau. Your interest will continue
to build up on the unpaid balance of your loan". Simple, you will be paying interest on the interest you have accrued with the loan portion hanging over your head. "Your OSAP debt will only be erased when you have paid it all off in full. Even, if you declare bankruptcy you will still have to pay off your OSAP loans"

Question?. Am I trying to scare with the facts of life in paying for your post secondary education with debt? No, I am trying to tell you the facts/truth and then you are faced with the questions of the why and how much is it going to cost you to attend your dream university.

It starts with the sales pitch from the Secondary School Liaison Officers to young people and their parents. The thrust of it is usually that people who go to university make more money then the unfortunate students who don't, It's a vicious cycle. Since nearly everyone feels obligated to go to university, depending on the program, it creates a glut of unemployed university graduates looking for any work to help pay off their student loans.

My friend's son, Jack has a PHD in Math and since graduating he has had five termination notices.
His younger brother, Sam chose the trade of plumbing and is self employed, never at a loss for work, happy and doing very well. I have never met an unemployed underpaid plumber in my life.

A passion for Anthropology degree while digging through the sands of time can be achieved while labouring in the field (dirt) with Nethercott Excavation in Dorchester with a pick and shovel while
earning a decent wage is on the job real life experience. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars pursuing an honours degree (4 years) in Anthropology.

Okay, you want to know what I advise: First take a moment to answer the questions : Why you are going to university? Second how you are going to pay for your schooling?. Instead of going into debt perhaps you should consider taking a gap year afer completing high school to work and save for your education.

Staying at home may not be considered cool but you can save half of the cost of your education. Check out the university of your choice if they have paid four month co-op or sixteen month internship programs where you can both earn and learn at the same time.

Taking on student OSAP debt when you are 18 is not a gift or panacea to cure all of your future
education career financial questions. Recently one of my students shared a Rolling Stone Magazine article by Matt Tabbi: "The Great College loan swindle in the US. The spiraling student debt has taken over the lives of millions of Americans some of whom commit suicide to solve their problems."

The Ontario University Applications are on line for next September 2018. Please make wise choices. Check out the OSAP information ontario.ca/osap to follow the links to all of your questions.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com