Minimize your university cost

University education can be very expensive. If you go to university and are responsible for your own funding, minimize your cost. Negative example: a colleague who studied at Harvard and then law school had accumulated a debt of US$100,000 by the time he started working. It took him many years before his net worth became positive.

Win awards. Most universities have financial rewards for students who excel overall or in individual subjects. These awards can be very helpful financially.

Get a scholarship. Scholarships are an obvious way to reduce your university cost. The great advantage of scholarships is that you don’t have to pay back anything. They also get the attention of employers. They help you get other scholarships. Many scholarships require you to work for the donor – this may be an advantage or disadvantage. See Get a Scholarship for more details.

Get project funding or research grants. For some university courses such as architecture or engineering, you can get businesses to sponsor your project. Similarly, graduate students can get research grants. Example: As a management student, I did a thesis on arbitrage that interested an investment bank, which provided some much needed funding.

If you can’t get ‘free money’, get a study loan. Student loans are available from governments, universities and charity organizations. Howver one should be careful that the terms are advantageous, as is the norm for these loans. Avoid getting commercial loans.

Study in a lower cost location or institution (so long as the institution is right in other ways). You could choose a smaller city or town (where costs could be lower by a third) or overseas. Example: A friend from New York state studied in Hong Kong and Japan before graduating from Toronto.

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