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Discussion Starter #1
What's the best way to invest in education? How can you pay for it?

I understand that there are scholarships, bursairies, awards, loans, etc. but still.

Thanks.
 

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Do you mean invest in stocks related to education, or what is the best way to invest for your kids future education?

If investing for your kids education, contributing to your kids RESP comes to mind.
 

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The best way is to save first. Most all kids in highschool have jobs. Instead of wasting the $$ on consumption, save it.
 

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What's the best way to invest in education? How can you pay for it?

I understand that there are scholarships, bursairies, awards, loans, etc. but still.
Scholarships
Let me comment first on the subject of scholarships, because this is something I know a fair bit about, having been down that path myself. Back in 1997, I made approximately $15k from scholarships prior to entering university -- likely more than I could have ever made working a few minimum-wage summer jobs -- but be warned, it is not an easy path.

Off the top of my head, some of the bigger-named "third-party" scholarships that you may want to consider (assuming they still exist; it has been many years since I've looked) include:

Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation
Miller Thomson Scholarship
Terry Fox Scholarship
TD Canada Trust Scholarship

Of course, most universities have their own scholarships -- e.g., for doing well on the Descartes at Waterloo, and so forth. Your children will need to start early, get very good grades, and will probably have to undertake a considerable amount of volunteer activities (e.g., volunteer at a foodbank) as well as student leadership roles (e.g., student newspaper, start a club, student government, etc.). Your kids will also need to have received some kind of recognition for personal extracurricular activities (e.g., good grades on Royal Conservatory tests, or medals in sports competitions, or the like).

My understanding (from a female colleague) is that it is slightly easier if you're a woman because there tends to be less competition; your mileage may vary. This is a tough path suitable to a select few.


Employment

My general philosophy is that university-bound kids shouldn't work during the school year -- they should focus on school, extracurricular activities, and "beefing up" their portfolios to better-position themselves for scholarships. (Jobs can be undertaken during the summer months.)


Co-op
I believe that, by far, a sound financial decision would be for your child to attend a co-op university program. (I did, and graduated with a substantial surplus in the bank, even after years of grad school.) From personal experience, I would consider admittance to, say, a co-op engineering programme to be at roughly the same level as a $100k scholarship offered in a non-co-op programme. The experience component, at the same time, is literally priceless.

A bit more personal insight on this topic: back in 1997, I was offered a $50k President's Scholarship to attend engineering at Queen's. The dean of the faculty of engineering called me at home and spoke to me about it. I turned Queen's down and opted, instead, for engineering at Waterloo, where I had received a $1687 engineering entrance scholarship -- was this a financial mistake on my part? Not at all. I ended up making far more money through the co-op programme than I ever could have made through scholarships. (At least, that was back when scholarships were taxed; that conclusion may be a bit different nowadays, but I suspect not by much.)


Investing
Start an RESP.

I use a self-directed RESP approach where I invest in well-priced, dividend-paying stocks with a substantial "moat" of protection, both from the perspective of the valuation and from the perspective of the price that I pay. I am a staunch adherent to the philosophies of Ben Graham (cf. his book, "The Intelligent Investor"). This approach isn't suitable for many people.
 

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Another Waterloo co-op grad here.

I not only made enough working during my undergrad years to fully fund my degree, I saved enough to fully fund a graduate degree (at Queen's).

Like Dr. V, I turned down a scholarship from another university (Toronto) in order to attend Waterloo's co-op program. All four kids in my family did co-op degrees at Waterloo, in four different faculties, and all of us graduated with no debt. I cannot recommend this route highly enough.
 

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Another Waterloo co-op grad here.

Like the others I was able to fund almost all my unversity education via co-op. Another benefit to co-op was that it gave me the chance to try working in multiple industries and positions prior to graduation. Thanks to that, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a first job and have only switched employers once in 14 years since graduating. Co-op certainly helped with my career planning
 

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thank you moneygal, spp & dr. V.

this information - about the value of a coop education - is too valuable to be lost in the rolling tides of thread posts. Won't you all please save it up. Perhaps some day it could be made into a sticky in a new section to be named Paying for the Education. Or whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok well the problem is that I've never been to university or college yet. Sure, I may be young but still. Do I have to fill out an application form and send it in right now? And if my application is accepted, then what? Then what happens, what should I do then?

And what's co-op?

Thanks
 

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Ok well the problem is that I've never been to university or college yet. Sure, I may be young but still. Do I have to fill out an application form and send it in right now? And if my application is accepted, then what? Then what happens, what should I do then?

And what's co-op?

Thanks
Think about co-op like an internship. It's a special program where you can work for a company to gain a bit of experience in your industry and get paid a bit for it (at least that's what I found).

Most scholarships need forms to be filled out, and some require essays. There are a few that you get automatically simply by applying to schools. Usually when you research scholarships they will tell you the requirements needed to get them.

If your application is accepted, then you just wait to see if you get awarded the scholarship mainly.
 

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Ok well the problem is that I've never been to university or college yet. Sure, I may be young but still. Do I have to fill out an application form and send it in right now? And if my application is accepted, then what? Then what happens, what should I do then?

And what's co-op?
On applying to university: your high school's guidance department will guide every university-bound student (generally in grade 12) through this process. If you're in Ontario, there's more info here: http://www.ouac.on.ca/undergrad/undergrad.html ... As per this link, most high school students in Ontario will have already completed the university application process for the fall 2010 term.


On applying to scholarships: it's already January, so you've basically missed most of the major third-party scholarship application deadlines (if you intend to go to university in September 2010). If you're aiming for enrolment after September 2010, then there is plenty of time to prepare, in which case I would encourage you to talk to your guidance department about this. (Note, however, that in my experience, most guidance departments are incompetent -- and I don't use that term lightly -- and will neither have any idea on how to help you nor any interest in learning what to do. I was fortunate, but the head guidance counsellor at my high school was one-in-a-million.)

Here are some helpful links to get you started (note that there are many more scholarships, these are just the tip of the iceberg):

http://loranaward.ca/sef/page/id/10.html
http://www.millerthomson.com/index.cfm?cm=SubSection&ce=details&primaryKey=14538
http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/scholarship/

I cannot stress enough the need to prepare in order to apply to these scholarships. These are not "something that you'll do a few days before the deadline"; I literally spent months writing essays and applications to dozens of scholarship foundations. These essays reflected the culmination of years of academic and extracurricular involvement. It was a lot of work, but it paid off financially, and also in terms of beefing up my early resumes, which helped a lot for co-op.

Note, also, that applying for most university programmes requires the writing of essays, as well as potentially furnishing samples of work (if you're applying to the fine arts). These applications also require a lot of time/energy to "get right". If you take the time to write the essays for the scholarship applications, you'll be able to draw from what you had written in order to complete the university applications, which are likely to be among the most important pieces of writing you'll ever submit (since they'll largely dictate your future).


On the question of co-op: See this link. Basically, you go to university for 4 months, then work for 4 months (at a real job, which pays real money), then school for 4 months, and so on. The university helps to match you to prospective employers. You'll need a good resume in order to get interviews for the better jobs, and good interviewing skills to land said jobs. There are financial benefits as well as benefits in terms of real-world experience.


K.
 

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C0-op across canda

The University of Waterloo was a pioneer in the introduction of co-op programs. Since then they have spread to many universities across the country, and for several disciplines of study.

This link: http://oraweb.aucc.ca/pls/dcu/dcu_e2?REF_ID=60916928&SORT_BY=1

--will take you to a page that lists many in Ontario only. I see that there are a lot here in Ottawa at both Carleton University and The University of Ottawa.

Form this web site you can search for co-op programs in other provinces as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies guys. I was actually given a book called "Debt-Free Graduate" for free, and I love it. I'll be reading it again.

There's so much sense that makes a lot of it and it's very interesting. I then deliberately bought another copy of it for 16 year old friend I know for her birthday, and unfortunately I don't think she realizes the value of it. (Still, or yet anyways - she's still in high school...figures.)
 
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