How do you pay for school?

Much of the university experience lies in having little to no money. University not only teaches students academics, it also instructs kids about being resourceful, which some refer to as “being super cheap.”

Regardless of having very little money,  students somehow find a way to pay for university. Then comes the point in every undergrad’s life when the bank account runs dry; when the need for money results in going to Boutique Lounge or Upstairs Cabaret, sober, to look for cash drunk people have dropped on the ground.

No, I am not saying I have ever done this, but I have thought about it every night for the past week.

Now, for most students, the money tap seems to drip dry at the end of the year when both semesters are up, but not always. An unlucky few can’t even scrounge together the $2  000 to $3  000 required for first semester’s tuition. This is where the question every student has asked arises, “How am I going to pay for school this year?”

Working

Some of us are fortunate enough to obtain a job in the lovely city of Victoria. I say fortunate because we all know how hard it is to actually find a job, let alone get hired in this city.

Loans

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, my friends; student loans are real. You can get lines-of-credit from banks, meaning you pay interest on it monthly, or you can go straight to the government and try to put your little paws into their pockets. Here is another secret that not many know about: after four years of being out of high school, you are no longer considered dependent on your parents’ income to apply for a loan. What that means is that if you were previously held back by your parents making too much, you are now able to get bigger grants and loans from the government, depending on your income and assets. Loans can be helpful through some tough years, but you better be prepared to pay them back.

Scholarships

For those who are either community, athletically, or academically gifted, we thank the gods of scholarships for existing. Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, from minutely small to gigantically large. Despite what people may think, they are actually quite abundant. Just look online for five minutes, and I guarantee you’ll find one. The key to getting one is, no surprise here, applying. Many scholarships are given away to people who are the only ones who applied for them, and some don’t even get given away.

Parents and family

The good old fam jam; gotta love ‘em. Whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, or even dead Great-Aunt Nelly, these people are integral for some in paying their tuition. I hate to say it, but there is no better gift than an R.E.S.P. left from Nelly to fund your undergraduate degree.

Please note: just because Great-Aunt Nelly left you $40 000 for school does not make you rich. Do not buy lunch on campus every day, because being poor will kick in very quickly.

Creativity

The last category comes from the student entrepreneurs, or in other words, the people smart and desperate enough to think way outside the box. These are the people who come up with ideas for raising money that make you say, “I wish I had thought of that.”

The funny thing about this group of people is that you only hear about them, you never actually meet them. They are urban myth stories passed down from friends of friends. Like the guy who went around to the used bookstores in Victoria, bought all the UVic textbooks, and sold them either back to the campus bookstore or at SUBtext for a nice marginal profit. Or what about the myth of the girl who loaned out her student loan with a high interest rate to people who couldn’t get one (note: this is a violation of your loan agreement).

The fact is the average student typically doesn’t have lots of spending money, even for those odd nights at the bar where somehow we can justify every drink bought.

For now, we will continue to play into our “student life” stereotype of free church dinner, memorizing the parking police schedule, and furnishing our houses with things found on the side of the road, just so paying for tuition is a little bit easier.

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