Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

Tuition and Living Costs

How much does a postsecondary education cost? The answer depends on a lot of factors, including the cost and length of your program, the price of materials such as books, your accommodation costs.

Here’s an example: If you live at home, the total cost of going to school each year (two terms), may be as low as $5,000. If you live away from home, the total cost, including living costs, may be as much as $11,000 or more.

This guide explains the fees and costs you will need to think about (and offers some tips on how to manage them).

· Application Fees

To apply to a college or university you must pay a fee.

Tuition Fees

You will pay tuition fees to go to a postsecondary school in Ontario. These fees will be listed in the school’s course calendar or program guide. You do not usually need to pay the whole fee at one time.

In most cases, you will find that:

· Fees for some specialized college or university programs will be higher than fees for general programs.

· Colleges and universities have different tuition fees for international students.

Fees for college programs are generally lower than fees for university programs. On average, fees for two terms of college in a general program are about $1,900. Fees for a general university program are about $4,200.

Extra Fees

Most schools will ask you to pay extra fees for using campus facilities and services such as athletic facilities or computer equipment. These fees may be charged to all students as a general student fee and will be listed in the school’s course calendar or program guide.

Students participating in co-operative education work placements may also be charged an extra fee.

Books and Supplies

Plan to spend at least $1,000 per year for books and school supplies. If you are entering a specialized course, like architecture, dentistry, medicine, photography, advertising or graphic arts, your materials costs may be much higher.

Living Costs

Choices such as:

· Do you want a private room, or a room you share with another student?

· Do you want a full meal plan or do you want to provide some of your own meals?

Depending on the choices you make, two terms in a student residence will cost about $4,500 to $6,000 or more.

If you want to live off campus, you will have to budget for the cost of rent, electricity, telephone and food.  If you choose to study abroad, you will need to research what your living costs will be in your country of study. Your school will be able to provide more detailed information on costs.


If you don’t live within walking distance of your postsecondary institution, add about $100 per month to your budget for public transportation. If you drive a car, don't forget the cost of gas, insurance, parking on campus and maintenance costs. Learn more

Health Insurance

You need to make sure you are covered by a government health plan, or by a private health plan, before attending university away from home. If you are an Ontario Resident, you are covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP). Many colleges and universities also charge students a fee for additional health care coverage while they are at school.

For more information on health care for non-Ontario residents, visit our Out-of-Province and International Student sections.

Other Costs

In addition to tuition fees and basic living costs, you also need to think about other things like laundry, personal needs (like toothpaste and shampoo or entertainment). To help you budget for the school year, keep track of what you are spending on these expenses now.

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