We’re off to University, just for today

Today the girls and I are heading to Ryerson, to one of two open houses they host per year.  The event is to give potential students a look at the campus, the offerings, and then stream them into their field of study and answer more specific questions about course load, costs, admission requirements, etc.

I’m really excited to go!

The eldest wants to study nursing.  She doesn’t actually want a career as a nurse, she wants to specialize and be a Diabetic Educator. In order to specialize, she has to have a medical degree under her belt first.  When she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 21, she was emotionally devastated that none of the nurses who were advising her actually had been in her exact situation.  She found them knowledgeable and caring, but she wanted somebody to say “hey, I’ve been there man, I know you’re feeling like you’ve just been shot from a cannon”.  Her desire to do this for other people hasn’t cooled off.  She’s already graduated from college, but Ryerson will be looking at her high school transcript for admission.  Wow, do I have questions for them!

The youngest wants to act.  She’s been preparing me for this since she was able to talk. She recites whole scenes of movies she’s seen once, and has done so since she had enough patience to sit through one.  The course at Ryerson gets lots of applicants, and they accept just over two dozen students. Yep, I have questions for them too.

Trouble is, I can only be in one place at one time! Ah, the toils of being a single parent with two kids destined for post-secondary at the same time.

In recent news, however, the youngest is feeling like she may do another year of grade 12. She’s destined to graduate this year, and she’s made the Honour Roll every year so far. She just feels like she isn’t ready to go off to University yet.  Hey, I went to grade 13, now an obsolete grade, and I wasn’t ready to go then either. She’s a full year younger than I was.

A few years ago I told both girls they could go to any post-secondary institution in the world, as long as it was in Toronto!  (Mean mother, aren’t I?)  My motivation was to give them a strong base at home, since they both have chronic illnesses and might need it every so often. Additionally, the extra cost of residence and meals times two means the cost would just be overwhelming. Finally, there is an awesome selection of post- secondary schools in Toronto.

Since the eldest is now working full-time, I’m hopeful she’ll have $15K in her TFSA by the time next September rolls around. It is possible, for sure. That won’t cover everything, she’ll have to be on the hook for some of her education too.  Her Dad and I paid the bill in full for her College Diploma. I’ve been plugging $250/month into her TFSA for a year now, since she’s too old to have an RESP. Now that she’s working, she can really pack money into it herself.  She has $10K of contribution room to use up in 2010. (Thank you Gordon Pape for giving me some tips for her TFSA)

The youngest has over $13K in her RESP. Not a bad start.  I’ve recently learned that you can still contribute to an RESP when a child is over 17, but you just don’t get the matching contribution from the Government.  Fine!!  I’ll continue to add my $250/month contribution for her too.  If she decides to do a second round of Grade 12, and apparently more and more students are doing this, it’ll give me another year to save up a few more bucks.

Keep in mind, I’m not “single” in my responsibilities for their education, their Dad is also obligated to assist financially.  The great news is, he’s also inclined to.  What a relief!

I’m excited for today.  I think I’ll pack us a lunch. I’m sure by then I’ll have a bad case of sticker shock!



4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Tracy: wow, two in post-sec at the same time! No wonder you specified Toronto. I went the same route with Kazi going to Western and living at home(no help from her father unfortunately – ever!) Saves a ton of money. I paid most of her first and second years as she was working at the Superstore at minimum wage and have helped her a bit less in her third and current year. She now works at TDCanada Trust for $18/hour and is able to save enough to pay for her fourth year and teacher’s college on her own, while still living at home. She is also starting to save for a…wait for it…CAR of her own. She has done me proud that’s for sure. Now if she could only figure out how to change the toilet paper roll…


    • Ha! That’s funny Jane – about the toilet paper roll. I don’t have that issue, but I do have others!

      Sounds like Kazi is doing awesome. It can be hard to work part-time and go to post-secondary school while the school year is on. I recall doing that a little bit. Frankly, the extra $30 or $50 a week I was earning made ALL the difference in keeping me in groceries. As a single gal in residence, I didn’t really require all that much, and $30 went pretty far if I recall.

      It’s great that she is able to contribute to her own education this way. With your help, hopefully she’ll graduate with a reasonable debt load to repay. I cringe when I hear of some of the debts our young people have upon graduation.

      After visiting Ryerson, I’m not secretly hoping that at least one of my kids may get some scholarship money. The youngest has an average of 87% right now. Has Kazi looked into any scholarship opportunities? Apparently there are thousands of unclaimed scholarship dollars out there, that folks just haven’t applied for!


  2. Sounds so exciting for the girls. Wow! I think your eldest daughter’s choice of career is commendable. She sounds like a really kind person – a true testament to having a great mom!

    And do share with us the cost of their courses. Some of us, who are a decade or so behind you in our parenting journey, need to know!!!!!


  3. Thanks! She’s a pretty cool person actually. She could find a bit more patience for her little sister, but I suspect most parents could say something similar.

    The cost is basically $6K/year for tuition. For the eldest, they suggested adding an additional $2K in the first year for supplies (books, scrubs, some medical gadgets). For the youngest, they suggested about $1K extra for books and supplies.

    Generally speaking, they remarked that a budget of an extra $1K per year is likely adequate for most students books, student fees, etc. The only reason it’s higher in the first year for nursing students is the purchase of some of this extra stuff (stethoscopes, scrubs, funky watches, etc). These are costs that generally aren’t required again during the nursing student’s school journey.

    So, for me, if both girls decide/are accepted in the same year, I’ll be looking at $15,000 in September 2011. ($6,000 per kid, $2,000 in extras for the nursing student, $1,000 in extras for the acting student). If you have a student attending school and requiring residence and the meal plan, then of course you can hike that bill up quite a bit.

    I’m not sure what the rates were at Ryerson, but if I recall when my eldest went off to College a few years ago, the housing/meal plan were actually more money than the tuition at the time. I could be wrong about that.

    Thankfully, I feel reasonably well positioned for the girls next year, at least financially.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: