Getting through post-secondary with less debt

Students face many challenges but two stand out — achieving that precious diploma or degree and doing it without a crushing debt load

Post-secondary students face many challenges but two stand out — achieving that precious diploma or degree and doing it without a crushing debt load.

That’s why you need a financial plan, so here’s your required tutorial on practical strategies for effectively managing your money.

Consider the cost of sleeping

Where will you lay your head at night? At home, the least expensive money-saver, or in student housing or a rental unit perhaps in a different city or province? Much depends on where you choose to go to school.

Budget realistically — and don’t budge

Start with the many expenses you’ll encounter during your school years, fixed costs such as tuition, books, accommodation, travel, food and variable costs like entertainment. Balance those costs against your known resources, RESP withdrawals, family contributions, personal savings and so on, and expected income from summer or part-time employment.

Investigate other income sources

Before applying for a student loan, check out scholarship or bursary possibilities from the school, provincial governments, foundations, religious groups, service clubs or civic groups.

Careful with credit

A credit card can drown you in debt or be helpful in an emergency or for establishing a credit history. Make the responsible choice.

Pay yourself first

Put away a little money each week as an investment in your future, a source of emergency funds, or to save for a major purchase.

Make the most of government tax relief for students

• Scholarships and bursaries — not taxable if you are eligible for the Education Tax Credit.

• Student loan interest — eligible for a non-refundable tax credit when the loan is part of a federal or provincial student loan program. Carry forward and apply unused amounts of the credit in any of the next five years.

• Moving expenses — deductible when you move more than 40 kilometres to be closer to school or a job.

• Child care expenses — may be claimed by the higher-earning spouse/common-law partner of a lower-income student spouse.

• GST rebates — apply for this rebate when you file a tax return.

Other available tax credits:

• Canadian Employment Credit on the first $1,065 of employment income.

• Tuition, Education and Textbook Credit — transfer unused portions of up to $5,000 minus the amount used by the student to a spouse/common-law partner, parent or grandparent, or carry forward unused amounts indefinitely.

• Public Transit Pass Credit — receipts needed for claim.

Talk to a professional adviser about these and other strategies for achieving a debt-free education and a sound financial future beyond your school years.

J. Kevin Dobbelsteyn is a certified financial planner with Investors Group Financial Services Inc. His column appears every Wednesday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A West Vancouver developer has applied to the City of Courtenay to construct a 39-unit strata development at 2650 Copperfield Rd. Scott Stanfield photo Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay council gives second reading to contentious development proposal

A West Vancouver developer has applied to the City of Courtenay to construct a 39-unit strata development at 2650 Copperfield Rd. Scott Stanfield photo Scott Stanfield photo

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Some of the affidavits filed come from family members of Casa Loma and Comox Valley Seniors Village residents in Courtenay. Record file photo
Courtenay seniors’ homes included in class action suit

Plaintiffs in early stage of applying for class certification on suit

Untreated gypsy moth populations can cause significant damage to forests, farms, orchards and urban trees. File photo
Aerial gypsy moth control spraying scheduled for Courtenay

The aerial-spray treatments to prevent gypsy moth infestations are scheduled for the… Continue reading

MARS can now offer private spaces for its orphaned fawns. Photo by Pearl MacKenzie.
Housing natural enemies a challenge for Merville’s Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

Jane Sproull Thomson Special to Black Press If you’ve ever had a… Continue reading

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read