What It Will Cost

What Does it Cost to Go to College or University?

When you go to a college or university, your costs each year may include:

How much will it cost? Two examples:

If you live at home, the total cost of going to school each year (two terms), may be as low as $5,000.

If you live away from home, the total cost, including living costs, may be as much as $11,000 or higher. This simple guide explains the fees and costs you will need to think about:

Application fees

You will need to pay a fee when you apply to a college or university.

Learn more: You can learn more about applying to colleges and applying to universities on this website.

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Tuition fees

You will pay tuition fees to go to college or university. Often, you do not need to pay the whole fee at one time. In most cases, you will find that:

  • Fees for some specialized college or university programs may be higher than fees for general programs.
  • Colleges and universities may have different tuition fees for international students.
  • Fees for college programs are generally lower than fees for university programs. On average, fees for two terms of college in a general program are about $1,900. Fees for a general university program are about $4,200.

Learn more: You will find tuition fees listed in the course calendars of all colleges and universities.

Extra fees

In most cases you may be asked to pay extra fees. These can include:

  • Fees for using campus facilities and services. These fees may be charged to all students as a general student fee.
  • Fees for participating in co-operative education work placements. These fees might be charged only to students in specific programs.

Learn more: You will find these extra fees listed in the course calendars of all colleges and universities.

Books and student supplies

You should expect to spend about $1,000 per year for books and school supplies. If you are entering a specialized course, like architecture, dentistry, medicine, photography, advertising or graphic arts, your costs may be higher.

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Living costs

If you want to live on campus: All Ontario universities, and many colleges, offer housing choices. This type of housing is called a 'student residence'. Your choices may include:

  • Do you want a private room, or a room you share with another student?
  • Do you want a full meal plan or do you want to provide some of your own meals?

Depending on the choices you make, two terms in a student residence may cost from about $4,500 to $6,000 or more.

If you want to live away from school: You will have to pay for things like rent, electricity, telephone and food.

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Will you live within walking distance of your college or university? If not, you should add about $100 per month to your budget for public transportation. If you drive a car, don't forget the cost of parking on campus. That's on top of gas, insurance and other costs.

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Ontario Health Insurance

You need to make sure you are covered by a government health plan, or by a private health plan, before attending university away from home. These plans help to pay for medical costs. For example, Ontario's health plan is called the Ontario Health Insurance Program, or OHIP. If you are not covered under OHIP, you will need to make sure that your current health plan will cover you for medical expenses in Ontario. Many colleges and universities also charge students a fee for additional health care coverage while they are at school.

Learn more: Contact the nearest office of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

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Other costs

In addition to tuition fees and basic living costs, you also need to think about other things like laundry, personal needs like a tube of toothpaste or shampoo and entertainment. Often, it helps to think about what you might spend on these items during a week, or a month. Then make a budget for the school year.

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