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Financing Your Education

Three students walking in the Student Learning Centre (SLC)

Investing in your education is one of the most rewarding, but costly investments you can make. It is important to be aware of ways to financially prepare yourself to be able to afford school costs (tuition, textbooks, and school supplies), but also budgeting for other costs (commuting, going out for lunch with your friends, and living expenses like rent or your cell phone bill). 

There are many ways to help finance your education:

Money-saving tips

There are many ways to help save money when paying for school. See below for our top seven tips for students.

It can be really easy to spend more than you realize (especially when you go to school across from the Eaton Centre)! For example, if you have class on campus five days a week and buy yourself a cup of coffee every day for $3.50, that works out to approximately $210 a semester! It is okay to treat yourself, just know what is in your budget and stick to it.

To keep within your budget, you can make small changes to your routine to help save costs:

  • Invest in a travel mug to bring your own coffee to campus. If you’re in need of a refill, many coffee shops will give you a discount for using your own mug.
  • Pack a lunch instead of buying lunch. You can make this a game for yourself: for every nine times you pack a lunch, you can treat yourself to purchase lunch next time. When you do buy lunch, use your OneCard - many restaurants around campus will offer discounts to students!
  • Resist temptation. If you spend your break between classes walking around the Eaton Centre, it will be much easier to spend money. Find new areas to walk around campus, or get your exercise at the Recreation and Athletic Centre or Mattamy Athletic Centre, which is free for full-time students with your OneCard!
  • Plan ahead and know what resources are available to you. Take a few minutes before the start of each week to figure out how much you will be spending, and if you can reduce the amount you spend by using the resources found on this page!

The Government of Canada also offers a helpful Budget Planner (external link, opens in new window) . Try to create a budget well ahead of the school year and monitor your budget routinely to make sure you are on track. There are also many phone apps you can download to monitor your budget. Browse your phone’s app store for more information.

If you use the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), you can apply for a Post-Secondary Student Monthly Metropass (external link, opens in new window) . If you take GO Transit, the GO Transit Student ID Card provides eligible full-time post-secondary students with discounted fare using your PRESTO card. For other discounts, check out your local transit office.

Buying brand new textbooks can be expensive, but there are ways to save. Digital textbooks are often cheaper. If you prefer physical books, there are also used bookstores near campus, or various social media platforms (such as Facebook) where you can buy and trade used textbooks with other students.

The TMU Library has a program called the Textbook Collection (opens in new window)  that allows students to take out their textbooks for a short-term loan.

Your student ID, your OneCard, will give you the opportunity to save money around campus. You can enjoy free admission to TMU Bold home games and free access to the Recreation and Athletic Centre (RAC) and Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). Beyond campus, many restaurants and shops near TMU offer discounts to students who show their student ID. 

The Student Price Card (SPC) (external link, opens in new window)  gives you access to discounts to many restaurants and stores around Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (especially near campus)! There is a small upfront cost, but the long-term savings will make up for it. Depending on who you bank with, you may even get a free SPC! You can confirm directly with your bank.

The International Student Identification Card (ISIC) (external link, opens in new window)  is your “passport” to access student discounts in Canada and around the world.

TMU has an award-winning campus job program called Career Boost. Career Boost provides full-time undergraduate students with the opportunity to work part-time for the University. The benefit of working on campus is that employers are very flexible, which means you can spend that four hour break between classes earning some money!

There are also full-time Career Boost positions available during the spring/summer semester.

Looking for off-campus work? Connect with the Career, Co-op, and Student Success team.

Youth Job Connection (external link, opens in new window)  can also be used to support you through mentoring services, education, training, and much more.

You may need electronics, like a laptop, for taking notes, completing projects and writing tests. These electronics can be very expensive to purchase, so using discounts will help you save money. For example, you can find student education discounts through Dell or Apple.

Many tech companies offer student deals/discounts on electronics right before the school year begins, so make sure to check online before starting your semester.

TMU also offers a free pop up store that is dedicated to helping students reduce their environmental impact and save money. You may find electronics, office supplies, home decor, kitchen supplies, books, and more!

Tax filing is very important for students to complete each year. Regardless of your income amount, there are many benefits associated with filing taxes. For more information on these benefits, refer to the Canada Revenue Agency (opens in new window)  (CRA).

International students seeking support with their taxes can refer to TMU's international Student Support Tax Services.

Your local public library may also offer free tax clinics, as well as other personal financial advice. The closest public library to TMU is the Toronto Public Library (external link, opens in new window) .