A #YUBlog Guide to University Budgeting, Part 1: Knowing the Costs and Funding

Posted by Sophie Morgan on June 7, 2018


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You’ve probably heard it said that university is all about balance. This is true when it comes to your social life and academic responsibilities. It also applies to managing your finances and creating a budget that suits your specific situation. After my first year at York University, I’ve learned that strong financial planning impacts your entire university experience.

In today’s #YUBlog post, we’re offering some tips, from our personal experience, about university budgeting! If you require more specific guidance with managing your finances, please visit York’s Student Financial Services website and the Future Students “Budgeting” webpage.

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It’s always a good idea to discuss your finances with an expert if you are unsure!

Knowing the Costs

Before planning a budget, it’s important to know what you will need to pay for while at university. Here’s an overview of the expenses you are likely to encounter as a university student:

Education Expenses

Tuition Fees

One of the biggest expenses for any university student is tuition. York U’s undergraduate academic fees are charged on a per-course or per-program basis. For a breakdown of domestic and international student rates, visit the Undergraduate Tuition Fees website. If you’re looking for more specific information about your tuition costs as a domestic or international student, be sure to visit York’s Course and Program Fees webpage.

Newly admitted York University students are also required to pay a one-time only registration deposit. To learn more, please visit the Paying Your Registration Deposit webpage. If you are a returning student, you DO NOT have to pay the registration deposit again.

Textbooks and School Supplies

Textbooks and school supplies are another significant investment for any student. You can search the York University Bookstore website for any supplies you may need. If you’re looking to find great deals on your books, be sure to check out our previous #YUBlog post, “Getting Your Textbooks on a Student Budget”.

Photo of a professor lecturing to a full class of students in a lecture hall. Photo by York University.
Looking for extra guidance as a domestic student? Visit #YUBlog’s post on Financial Support for Domestic Students!

Living Expenses


York U is accessible through numerous public transportation providers that travel across the Greater Toronto Area. The York Federation of Students’ Members’ Services and York’s TTC Metropasses webpages offer student discounts on TTC passes. Students are also eligible to receive a reduced fare rate on GO Transit with a GO Student Card. To learn more about transportation options and costs, be sure to check out York Transportation Services.

If you drive to campus there are also plenty of parking lots with nearly 9,200 parking spaces combined! Visit York U Parking Services for more specific information.

Residence Fees and Living Expenses

If you don’t commute to York U, you may have living expenses for living off campus or in a campus residence. Be sure to check out the Undergraduate Residency Occupancy Agreement & Rates on the Keele Campus and on the Glendon Campus to learn more about residence fees. If you’d like more information about residence options at York U, the #YUBlog’s post, “The First Year’s Guide to York U Residence” is a great resource!

Food Expenses

Whether you’re bringing food from home, eating on campus or using a meal plan, food costs add up! For more information about York’s Dining Directory, Meal Plan options and common Meal Plan questions, visit York U’s Food Services webpage.

Entertainment Costs

These expenses involve any activities that fall outside your education and living costs. This can include going to the movies or taking a trip downtown with a group of friends.

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Throughout your studies, it’s also important to allocate time for breaks. Check out the York Federation of Students’ Events page for inclusive and affordable events!

Success Tip: I’ve found that keeping track of my Student Financial Profile (SFP) and my Student Account has been extremely helpful! The SFP allows me to apply for numerous scholarships simultaneously and update my financial status quickly. Meanwhile, my Student Account helps me monitor my university transactions.

Exploring Funding Options

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

OSAP is a government financial aid program that offers grants and loans to eligible students to pay for university. For more information, you can visit Student Financial Services’ Part-time Loans and Grants page and York U’s OSAP website.

Student Access Guarantee (SAG)

SAG is a partnership between York University and the government of Ontario that ensures students who receive financial aid from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and are identified as having financial need have their direct educational costs covered (tuition, books and mandatory course fees).

York University Scholarships

There are plenty of opportunities to find funding through scholarships and bursaries offered at York U. In 2017, the collective worth of York U’s scholarships and bursaries increased from $69 million to $81 million! These scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic merit.

If you’d like to learn more about York U’s scholarships, please visit the following resources:

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You can use your Student Financial Profile to apply for scholarships and learn about submission deadlines.

On-Campus Employment

Working on campus is a great way to earn money and gain valuable job experience! At York U, there are four major Work/Study employment opportunities that are each unique to York University. Students meet the general requirements for these programs if they are a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in a degree program, are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, demonstrate financial need and maintain satisfactory academic progress. These on-campus jobs allow you to conveniently work part-time at the university while completing your degree.

  • Research at York (RAY): The Research at York (RAY) program enhances the research culture of the University and the undergraduate student academic experience. Students can gain valuable research experience from faculty or senior/graduate students while receiving compensation at a competitive rate.
  • Work/Study Program: The Work/Study program provides on-campus part-time job opportunities for eligible full-time York University students. The program is available at both Keele and Glendon campuses and offers a broad range of jobs from many different Faculties and departments.
  • College Life at York (CLAY): The College Life at York (CLAY) program focuses on enhancing the student experience within the college system on the Keele campus.
  • York Engaged Students (YES): The York Engaged Students (YES) program supports high profile contributions and engagement activities on campus that are focused on such things as peer mentoring, ambassadorship and advising.
  • Working in Canada as International Students: International students may be eligible to work in Canada while studying and after they graduate. Visit International Student Advising to learn if you qualify for these opportunities.

On-campus employment can suit your specific interests and provide flexible hours for YU students. If you’re interested in any of these options, be sure to check out the “How to Apply” page on the Student Financial Services website and visit the Career Centre webpage.

A photo of a calculator on top of a Canadian 20 dollar bill and a Canadian 5 dollar bill. Photo by PDPics.
The #YUBlog’s posts, “Financial Support for International Students” and “International Student Guide, Part 1: Advance Preparations” are wonderful resources for international students!

Success Tip: The York Internship Program is a fantastic way to gain job experience. The program provides a unique chance to put your skills into action and become involved in a workplace.

You’ll be on your way to successful budgeting once you familiarize yourself with the financial costs of university and your funding options. When you find the York U resources that are right for your financial situation, you will be on your way to learning how to manage your money!

If you have any questions about managing your finances, please comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction!

Sophie Morgan
Sophie Morgan

Sophie Morgan is a second-year Professional Writing and French Studies double major at York U. She is an avid writer, a baking enthusiast and a full-time cat-sitter. She hopes that her posts will inform and inspire both prospective and current York U students!

See other posts by Sophie Morgan

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