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Two Halifax universities in top 10 most expensive for off-campus students : Maclean's

Saint Mary's University is the third-most expensive school for off-campus students
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Saint Mary's University (Meghan Groff/

A new survey from Maclean's Magazine is shedding light on just how expensive it is to get a post-secondary education.

The magazine surveyed 23,384 undergraduate students to find out how they spend their money.

They found the average cost of one year of school in Canada is $19,498.75, but that figure is higher for some, including many students in Halifax.

"Saint Mary's is actually the third-most expensive school in the country to attend if you're planning to live off-campus, once you factor in all the other costs like travel, food, rent and so forth," said Mark Brown with Maclean's.

The average price tag to be an off-campus Husky is $22,892.48, Dalhousie also cracked the top 10, placing 7th at $21,598.52.

"If you're from the Halifax-area and you're planning to stay at home, you should budget somewhere between $10,000 and $11,000 to attend those schools."

The news not much better for Mount Saint Vincent University students with an average cost of $20,978.40 for off-campus and $9,983.90 for those who can live at home.

Brown said overall Canadian students living off-campus face a big financial burden.

"Rent accounts for 40 per cent of your overall spending to attend a single year of university, where tuition only accounts for about 34 per cent, so you have to weigh those costs," he said. "When you're building a budget you really have to consider all these costs to make sure you don't fall into debt."

Maclean's also asked students how much they spend on alcohol, the average is about $600 a year.

Results come as no surprise to Nova Scotia students 

Students in Nova Scotia say this survey just confirms the message they've been trying to get across, they've been paying extraordinary amounts to go to university.

The chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Nova Scotia said our province has the second highest and fastest rising tuition rates in the country.

Aidan McNally is calling for a national strategy for post-secondary education to eliminate discrepancies in access across Canada.

"So that access in Quebec looks like access in Nova Scotia," she said. "So that students can go to school where they're at."

McNally said over 70 per cent of posted jobs require a post-secondary education, so young people are forced to take on the huge financial burden of going to school.

She said the average debt load for a Nova Scotian student upon graduation is $39,600, which affects the rest of a their lives.

"We know that student debt means individuals are less likely to buy a house, start a business and start a family."

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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