Creative Ways to Earn Money for University Tuition
Between tuition, books, residence, transit, meals, and general life, university in Canada can easily cost over $20,000 per year. While that’s nothing compared to the $50,000 - $70,000+ our American counterparts pay annually, it’s still a large amount of money that not every family or individual can afford. While many scholarships are available for students, they don’t always cover the costs nor are they guaranteed.
If you’re caught in the middle and worried about how you’ll afford to pay tuition, keep reading. We’ve rounded up a few creative ways to earn your tuition dollars.
The classic: A job
It’s a classic for a reason. Whether on-campus or off-campus, a job will help you earn some money. This can be working on the weekends, evenings, or even in-between classes. If you’re looking for a good old fashioned job, check local help wanted signs in stores, talk to your campus career services, or reach out to alumni. You never know who needs some help.
Side note: a job doesn’t have to mean that you flip burgers or work retail. These can be great jobs, but you could also look for jobs like research assistants, personal assistants, or other kinds of labour.
Start an online store
Have a craft that people keep telling you they love? Or do you like choosing products and running ads to sell them? A Shopify store may be the perfect solution to your income woes.
Shopify has tons of resources to help you start an e-commerce business, including different apps (think: Apple app store but for online businesses) to help you set up your website, your inventory, and your ads. You can even work with suppliers that manage all of your stock for you, so you never have to touch a single product or rent a storage facility.
If you’re crafty and can make things from scratch, you might like Etsy where you can set up a digital crafts boutique.
Sell your old stuff
You may not want your old toys, but to a collector, they may be worth something. Even clothes you don’t wear anymore might be attractive to someone else.
Leverage apps to make money from your phone
With the rise of the “gig economy,” it’s never been easier to get opportunities to make money from your phone.
You could do paid online surveys and get paid anywhere from $5 to $25+ per survey - just for giving your opinions.
If you want to make money from apps, just be sure you’re checking their payment rules and that they are available in your region.
Start a side hustle
If the thought of working for someone else makes you jittery, consider starting your own business. You don’t have to be a high-flying, suit-wearing ‘entrepreneur’ to be a business owner. Nor do you have to work tons of hours.
You could easily start a side business as:
- A freelance writer
- A freelance social media manager or digital marketer
- A researcher for hire
- Tutor (either for university classes you’ve taken before or for high school students)
Campus career services may even be able to help you get a start. Some universities have small grants for student entrepreneurs to start their businesses. Others allow people to advertise when they need freelance services so you can reach out and potentially gain a customer.
If you go down this route, you’ll need to register a sole proprietorship or corporation. Don’t worry, though, registering a sole proprietorship costs less than $100 and you can deduct the expenses from your taxes later on (be sure to get an accountant to help you if you’re not sure what to do when it comes to taxes).
Become a Halper
Want to make money by sharing your university experience with high school students? Then you may want to become a Halper. On Halp, high school students and their families pay an hourly rate to talk with you about admissions, essay writing, campus life… anything.
You set up your profile to let people know what you’re able to talk about, set your hours, and then you’re off to the races. If you want to learn more, check out this article about why one fourth year student chose to become a Halper.
Minimize your expenses
If you’ve done all you can to maximize revenue while you’re a student, the final tip is to minimize your expenses. The more of your money you keep, the more able to pay tuition you’ll be. For more ideas on saving money, check out our blog on saving money in first year.
In particular, look for money-saving tips like:
- Going to events with free food
- Walking or taking public transit over Uber and Lyft
- Use your student card to get every student discount you can
- Eat at the dining hall or cook yourself instead of going to a restaurant
Making money isn’t always easy, so you want to keep as much as possible. If you’ve got a tuition bill to pay, knocking out as much as possible before you graduate will give you a much better starting point. It may seem daunting to be spending around $100,000 over four years, but the return on investment will be worth it - university graduates typically earn far more over their careers than people without university degrees.