In “Budgeting Tips and Tricks”, a workshop offered to UTM students by the Office of the Registrar, financial aid advisor Mia Horakova provided advice on how students can more effectively manage their budgets at university.
The Office of the Registrar holds a variety of workshops throughout the year to give students tools to transition from high school to university. They include sessions that help students decide on subject POSts, apply for scholarships and awards, and plan for their academic success.
Murray Baker’s book The Debt-Free Graduate, a budget template, and a handout with details about financial assistance were given to students. The Debt-Free Graduate deals with topics like how to get a great summer job, how to pay less tax, and how to eat, drink, and be merry on a budget.
“OSAP is a primary funding that all students should apply if they are eligible for. OSAP is to be seen as an assistance and not a replacement of tuition fees,” said Horakova. “It’s necessary that students apply for OSAP first, or they would not be eligible for scholarships or grants.”
She also talked about the various scholarships, grants, and other financial assistance available to them, including U of T Advance Planning for Students (UTAPS), getting a student line of credit from a bank, and the need-based UTM Undergraduate Grant.
Horakova highlighted the importance of tracking their budgets. She went through two hypothetical examples of a student’s budget: one in which the budget resulted in deficit, and another where the budget aligned appropriately with the student’s resources. She concluded the session with helpful tips on budgeting (including “Don’t go shopping hungry or emotional” and “Shop at discount retailers”) and an open invitation for the students to come to the financial aid office if they need further assistance.
“When students come from high school, they don’t know how to budget financially. They aren’t aware about the many financial aids that are available to them,” said Horakova. “Thousands of awards are not given out each year just because students don’t know about them.”