Thursday, 8 August 2013

Managing your Grad School Funding @ UofT

In my previous post, I mentioned about funding and tuition issues at University of Toronto. Based on a rough estimate, it is safe to assume you will have roughly $1200 per month after paying tuition. So, is this amount enough to cover living cost? How do you manage it? Are there any other financial aid? I will try to address these questions in this post.

With $1200 per month, I can guarantee you that you cannot get a place entirely for yourself in Toronto. Typically, condominiums in downtown Toronto starts at $1600 whereas 1 bedroom apartment starts at various prices. The bottom line is you have to rent a place with a friend. My suggestion is to get a place to stay such that rent plus utilities would come down to $800. The remaining $400 can be used for food, groceries and entertainment.

To stay on budget, you really need to focus on finding a cheaper place to stay. You can find places to rent as low as $400 per room but expect to have a small room and sharing it with a lot of people. A better choice would be apartments where it has 2 rooms and you can rent a room for around $800 including utilities. I recommend 200 Elm or 222 Elm Street which is around that price tag (this is where I stay). It is near to UofT, Chinatown and many restaurants. It is absolutely a great place to live at. If you are willing to spend more, you can consider condominiums as well. I am listing a few resource for you to look for places to rent:
  • UofT Off Campus Housing - The places available for rent are typically good value and they are near to UofT.
  • - Typically used to find condos or houses to rent in this website.
  • - Typically offers apartments for rent.
  • Kijiji - All sorts of renting offers are provided.
  • YorkBBS - Chinese community website that offers a lot of renting advertisements. Unfortunately, the contents are all in Chinese.
So, what about additional financial aids? Well, if you are PhD students, then you would probably have more options. The easiest way to earn more money is to work as a teaching assistant (TA). This is probably true in the engineering department. I am not sure about other departments. They have different policies. As a teaching assistant, you get an additional $600 per month. That is a substantial increase. However, it is likely that you will only have opportunities to work as a TA for 8 months. If you assume you are doing TA for 8 months and you average out the pay, you are still get $400 extra every month. This is a very sweet deal and it is pretty competitive. To improve the chances of getting a TA position, make sure you apply for the courses which the professors in your research group teaches.

Furthermore, UofT also have scholarships to apply for every so often. But I believe they are quite competitive too. You can view them here. Alternatively, you can also use websites that provides a list of scholarship. I won't even name them because there quite a few and I am not sure which would be the best. Lastly, you can also try to apply for student loan (if you are domestic student).

That's all I have to share. I hope you find useful information which help you to manage your finance better.

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