How much do you really pay for your degree?

A simple change in scenery can save you up to $30,000 in costs, depending on which university you choose.

Despite the information sent out by universities to prospective students, many incoming students are left surprised by the costs associated with living beyond their first year in residence, as they have to deal with rent, utility and grocery costs.

Unfortunately, this obliviousness can cost you thousands in the long-term as higher rental costs can take hold of your finances.

The term “studentification,” coined by Professor Darren Smith of Loughborough University, is used to describe the increase in students seeking higher education and crowding into university towns. This studentification can lead to a version of ‘student ghettos’ that result from the issue of expensive living units. This can either cause students to move into a unit that is essentially unaffordable to them, or to move to lower cost housing, at the risk of making sacrifices in quality, all the while depending on the quantity of available housing.

A main problem with overcrowding in university towns and areas is that the increased number of renters in the area seemingly ensures that a landlord will find someone to fill the space and pay the potential higher-than-value cost.

Similar situations in the United Kingdom are sparking action by university students, who are tired of the unfair rental market.

Part of the real cost of a four-year university experience, with more implications than merely financial burden, is the potential trade-off between security and cost when lower-priced housing is often in worse areas.  Although, some students don’t mind paying the extra dough to live downtown in one of Ontario’s major cities.

“My roommate and I pay $550 each, and it’s a crappy building but it’s right on the corner of downtown,” said Elyse Rosamond, a student at the University of Ottawa.

“I think, it’s a little expensive, but you kind of pay for what you get. Toronto is ridiculous. I’ve priced a bunch of places in Toronto, because I wanted to move back home.”


The Results:

Top 5 most expensive Ontario universities to pursue degrees in (including rent and tuition):

  1. UoT (St. George) $78,234
  2. UoT (Mississauga) $68,691
  3. Waterloo $67,766
  4. Queens $60,549
  5. UOIT $60,436, Ryerson $60,398, Carleton $59,564, York $59,253

Top 5 least expensive Ontario universities to pursue degrees in (including rent and tuition):

  1. Windsor University $48,299
  2. Lakehead University $48,652
  3. Algoma University $49,376
  4. Nipissing University $49,668
  5. Western University $49,896

Top 5 most expensive Ontario cities to pursue university degrees in:

  1. Toronto (UoT St. George/ York)
  2. Mississauga (UoT)
  3. Ottawa (University of Ottawa, Carleton University)
  4. Kingston (Queen’s University)
  5. Oshawa (UOIT)

Top 5 least expensive cities to pursue degrees in:

  1. Windsor (University of Windsor)
  2. North Bay (Nipissing University)
  3. Sault Ste. Marie (Algoma University)
  4. Thunder Bay (Lakehead University)
  5. Hamilton (McMaster University) and St. Catherines (Brock Uninversity)


Carleton University: $59,564

University of Ottawa: $56,785

These numbers are based on information gathered from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (rental costs), the Council of Ontario Universities (university data) and StatsCan. Rental numbers are based on individual rent of a two-bedroom apartment (cost/2). Tuitions are based on the universities average tuition, not including law, pharmacy or medical degrees. For the fully accumulated data sheet, click here