Restraints of a student budget

The Student Financial Workshop, offered through the partnership of the UTM Students’ Union and the Office of the Registrar, was held on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Student Centre.

Every year, the same worries plague many students: “What if I run out of money? Can I afford another class? How will I pay for books?”

For those in need of financial assistance, there are programs out there to lend a helping hand.

A representative from the Office of the Registrar explained and outlined various ways that students can seek funding, budget their expenses, and get help with other financial matters. They listed some common pitfalls students run into, and tips on how to troubleshoot financial problems before they begin or become serious.

“Many students don’t fully understand the importance of planning ahead,” the lecturer said. “It leads to many problems down the road.”

Teal pages with columns and headings enumerated various ways of calculating income versus expenses, how to manage a deficit, and where to go for further information. Each student present was asked to fill out these forms and calculate just how much they were in the hole.

“Sometimes we spend small amounts of money here and there, such as a cup of coffee and a doughnut at Tim Horton’s, but what we don’t realize is that these small expenses lead to a larger financial loss later down the road,” the lecturer said.

She demonstrated that a person buying a cup of coffee and a pastry once a day from Tim Horton’s will be out just over $500 at the end of the school year—an expense which could easily be used for something more vital, such as rent, books, or tuition.

If you are reading this with a clenched fist and tears or sweat running down your face, don’t fret; there are ways that you, as a UTM student, can reach out for further financial assistance beyond OSAP.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of unclaimed scholarships every single year,” the lecturer said. “It’s mostly because people think that hundreds of other students are also applying, so they don’t bother. There are very few students actually applying for these scholarships, with thousands of dollars for the taking.”

Not all scholarships are skill-based; some are based on cultural background, creed, social status, among a number of others. For instance, there are scholarships for people who had a close relative fight in a war, or people belonging to certain Aboriginal tribes.

To access scholarship information, visit the Office of the Registrars website, click on “Financial aids and awards”, and start browsing the plethora of scholarships available, with the thousands of dollars unclaimed every year.

The lecture runs annually in October; all students are encouraged to attend.

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