Financially Ready for School: 10 Practical Tips

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Mar 15, 2023
4 min

Learn how to financially and mentally prepare for your return to school with these 10 practical steps. Start saving, research financial aid, and set realistic goals to make the most of this exciting journey!

Are you thinking about heading back to school?

Don't let the thought of financial preparation stress you out! With a little planning and some practical steps, you can be on your way to achieving your educational goals.

In this guide, we'll give you the inside scoop on how to financially and mentally prepare for this exciting journey. So buckle up and get ready to learn how to make your return to school the adventure of a lifetime!

10 financial steps to get back to school

1. Calculate all expected costs

It is important to review all of the fees associated with going back to school, including tuition and any additional fees. Take into account any potential technology needs (computer, printer, phone, tablette…), and factor in travel costs (bus, metro, car, gaz… )

2. Create a realistic budget

To help plan for the costs associated with returning to school, create a budget and stick to it. Include your tuition, as well as any other expenses you may incur from your studies such as childcare and transportation.

3. Research financial aid options

Check to see if you are eligible for any scholarships or grants, which can help to offset the cost of tuition. Also look into student loans, which can help you pay for your living expenses while you attend school.

4. Look into tuition reimbursement options

If you are working for a company or organization, see if they offer any tuition reimbursement plans. It is also worth looking into student discounts and other deals.

5. Explore tax benefits

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for certain tax deductions or credits. To claim the tuition tax credit, you will need to obtain a T2202A tax form from your educational institution, which will show the amount of tuition and fees you paid during the year. It's important to note that tax laws and regulations can change over time, so it's always a good idea to consult a tax professional or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the most up-to-date information.

6. Consider alternatives to traditional education

There are numerous alternatives to traditional education, such as online courses and apprenticeships, which may be more cost-effective.

7. Prepare for a side job

Having a side job while you are studying can help to supplement your income, and help you pay for the costs of tuition and other expenses.

8. Set up an emergency fund

As a safety net, it is important to set up an emergency fund to cover any unexpected costs.

9. Consider additional expenses

You will likely incur other costs during your studies, such as textbooks, supplies, and equipment. Make sure to plan for these as well.

10. Start saving

As soon as possible, start saving for your educational costs. Even setting aside a small amount each month can make a big difference in the long run.

There are numerous benefits to returning to school, some of which may be difficult to quantify. That said, there are definite economic and career benefits associated with furthering your education. According to research conducted by the College Board and Georgetown University, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn approximately 66% more than those who only have a high school diploma.

Research conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, also found that individuals who complete a degree increase their earning power over the course of their careers.

Education can also provide intrinsic rewards, such as personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Mental Preparation Returning to school can be a stressful process, and there are many things to consider both financially and mentally.

Here are 5 tips to mentally prepare

Set realistic goals

Before you begin, set realistic goals for yourself so that you can easily measure your progress.

Create your support system

Make sure you have a support system in place, including friends and family who can provide emotional and practical support.

Make time for yourself

Returning to school is an emotional process, and it’s important to find time for yourself to relax and unwind.

Take breaks

Build in regular breaks throughout the process, so that you can recharge and come back with a refreshed mindset.

Set a schedule

To stay on track and ensure that you are making progress, create a schedule for your studies and stick to it.

If you need additional help, there are many professionals who can assist you. You can consult a financial planner to help you create a budget and manage your money, or an educational consultant to help you choose the right school and major.

Returning to school requires careful planning and preparation, both financially and mentally. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can be well on your way to making an informed and educated decision on where and how to invest in your future. With the right preparation, you can reap the numerous benefits associated with furthering your education and move towards your goals with confidence.

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