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school pride costs

Do you get a free UofT t-shirt or hoodie once you arrive at UofT? Do you need to live in rez to get a free UofT tee?


hey there,

nah. nothing at uoft is for free, and even the things that seem to be free (access to gyms, libraries, orientation week) are things that you’ve already paid for. in some ways, it’s a good thing, because it prepares you for “real” (note the heavy scare quotes) life.

unfortunately however, t-shirts and hoodies aren’t included in your incidental fees. i don’t know where you heard that you get a free uoft tee (haha, tee-tee) in res. that’s not a thing that happens, and i know people in pretty much every res on the downtown campus.

the only free piece of clothing you’ll get will be an orientation t-shirt, assuming you choose to participate in orientation, and that’s going to be more about college/faculty pride than uoft pride. if you want uoft merch specifically, you’ll need to spend $40 on a hoodie from the bookstore like the rest of us plebs. i will say that they are really soft, though.




to break the bank or break the back?

Hi again, a quick question for you,

I am going to be taking two 0.5 courses this July/August and with intensive work that means a lot of print off slides – for me anyways, I don’t bring a laptop to school.

Anyway, I was wondering if you guys have any insight on where there is to print for less than it is at the libraries, although the location is so convenient. If I can print pages for less that be great. Any ideas?




I’m cheap and have been saving all my money by bringing my laptop or just… writing my notes so I don’t have much personal experience on this matter, but some places I do know you can check out are:

1) The Students’ Union Office — $0.03/page

Personally, I think this is too good to be true.

Like I just don’t understand. But yeah, the limitations of this one is that printing has to be in black and white, brought in by USB, and paid for in cash. Also, the service is only available Monday to Friday from 12 to 4. Still, those are normal waiting-between-classes hours, so definitely check this one out for me and tell me if it’s real!

And 2) Kelly Library — $0.08/page

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s UofT still, but I love em. Basically if you print double-sided on black-and-white — which is their default setting — then it costs 8 cents a page. But if you need it single-sided, then it’ll cost you 10 cents.

I don’t think going off campus will really do much for you. The university DOES try to be as economical as possible…

But why don’t you just, you know, write your notes? I get that slides can be important if you need to memorize formulas for example, but if it’s for say key sociological concepts, that’s something you’re better off writing down and learning as opposed to reading off a slide and barely recalling.

And if that doesn’t float your boat, then invest in a printer!

It’s easy to whine that you ~*~don’t have the money~*~ but I’m sure if you consider its long-term use and cut back on daily frapps or whatever suits your fancy, you’ll get by. But if you really don’t have the funds… well let’s face it, if you can afford to print the slides, you can probably afford a passable printer.

Still, I do stress the whole pen and paper thing! 😉

(Also, take a look at this hilarious post by blogUT about the dos and don’ts of using slides.)




if i had a dollar for every repeat question… i would not have a dollar for this one!


So I (read: my father) paid the minimum amount for my summer course this year but I still have a current debt sitting in my ROSI of about $250 or so. When do I have to have this paid by? When does interest kick in? etc etc

Thanks a million.




Interest is going to start building on June 15, so try paying by then to avoid the monthly 1.5% screw over.

swimming in student loans,



more money for the marks

Hola aska,

I’m planning to apply to professional school once I complete my 4th. However, I don’t think I’d want to officially graduate at that point because I might end up considering a 5th year to boost my grades. If things go well and I don’t need the fifth year but I’m already a month into it, how much money can I get back? Also, does the amount I can get refunded differ when I cancel my registration (late August-early September) before the start of the semester?

Muchos gracias,


Bonjour mon ami,

Although the exact dates change each year, you can definitely refer to the 2012-2013 refund schedule to get a feel for what you?ll be getting back if you decide to back out of your hypothetical fifth year. So if you choose to cancel registration in late August or really, really early in September, you should get all of your money back. There would probably be something on your account saying you owe around $45 for a ROSI access fee, but even that will eventually go away.

However, the easiest way to put this is that if you go to the class, you will be charged something. So if you don?t drop out before school officially starts, you?ll have to pay a minimum of $235 (granted that may very well change for next year). But if you wait for a full month, there?s a very good chance you won?t get any money back, so do try figuring out what you want before you give the university a whopping seven grand.

But if your concern is raising your GPA, there are always summer courses. Some people either do really poorly or really, really well, so consider that instead of spending a full year back at U of T.




Show me the Money

Hey Aska,

Ok so im starting my first year at UTSC this fall and I want to do a double major in Human Biology and Physics/Astrophysics. My life is going to be crazy with like 30h of school a week, and I have a strong desire to not kill myself sooooo I was thinking that in the event things gets to hectic for me, I would drop a course and take it in summer school. I know that the last day to drop a course without academic penalty is Wed, November16/2011(says so in the calendar)…… but what is the last day to drop it without Financial penalty???

😀 thanks a bijillion,




Hey Rubz,

I’m glad you asked! It takes a lot of detective work to find the university’s financial deadlines online. Gee, I wonder why… *wink*.

They’re hidden – I mean, posted – on the Student Accounts website. According to the refund schedule for domestic students at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, the last day to drop a course and receive a 100% refund was September 21st. To receive any refund, Y courses must be dropped before November 10th; F courses before October 13th; and S courses before February 12th.




money in the bank

Dear Ask,
I am going to be attending my first year at U of T. I have already paid the minimum payment for tuition, and I was wondering when I must pay the remainder by.
Thanks !


As long as you pay the remainder of your fees by the end of the school year (that’s mid April), you won’t accrue any additional evil U of T interest. Since you’ve paid the minimum payment for tuition, you are also registered in your classes! Yay!

xoxo, Askastudent


so you’re poor…

Hello Aska!

Here’s a self-proclaimed poor poor guy who is trying every possible means to cut budget. Hope u can provide some insiders’ tips on the various areas i’m going to ask on.

I’ll be a first year student in St.G, commerce stream this falls and tuition fees is alrdy a major burden. Manage to take a cursory look at the online UofT bookstore and my eyes turned red when i scrolled to the price-tags.. Yup, actually I would like to know how much of a necessity are textbooks for the various courses in UofT? More specifically for Mat133y, Eco209y, Rsm100y. Are there any second-hand bookstores in campus or outside-campus? To Aska readers! – are there anyone willing to part with their books for the above mentioned modules at a discounted price?

That goes, another aspect i think i can budget on is the UTSU health and dental plan. I understand that all full-time St G students are paying for services to UTSU via our non-academic incidental fees (consisting of four categories, namely *UTSU-Dental Plan, UTSU-Student Commons (St G), UTSU (St George) & UTSU-Accident/Pr Drug Ins*). There exist an opt-out option but i wish to further clarify the implications b4 finalizing a decision. May i know of which categories of fees will be refunded back to the student upon successful opt-out, and the consequences involved (as in what kind of benefits are withdrawn, provincial health insurance shd be sufficient right?)

It is likely that you will suggest for the path on application for financial assistance as a solve-all. I feel that there’s definitely ppl worse off than me in the wealth spectrum, it will only be fair not to deprive them of these assistance opportunities. So, do advice accordingly =) Other budgeting tips are welcome too!!



Askastudent understands your need for cool, cheap stuff. School is expensive (my days of surviving on falafels are not far behind me, like at all), and when you factor in tuition, rent, textbooks and the general cost of living man, it can all add up to a hefty cost.

For cheap books look on Craiglist (seriously!) and check out the several used book stores in the area. U of T has a discount text book store all on its own, in addition to a book swap hosted by UTSU, plus several used book stores in the Annex.

As for the opt out, you won’t receive the kick-back to that money until October/November. UTSU usually posts the details, but doesn’t have the 2010 info up on their website yet. Here is last year’s information.

In terms of other budgeting information – Aska recommends taking advantage of free services on campus (the Athletic Centre, CINSSU’s Free Friday Films, The Hart House Record Room), buying your groceries at the nearby Kensington Market and/or Chinatown and going home to do your laundry for free. You can rent all kinds of good movies at Robarts, take out free books and attend events on campus for free food. Best of luck and steal as many supplies from other people’s frosh kits as you can. That gratis deodorant will come in hand in December when you are poor, stressed and stinky.

Don’t forget to talk to your academic registrar about academic bursaries and awards!

xoxo, Askastudent


i go here, really!

Is there another way to get proof of enrolment without having to go to the campus, I need it for a student loan application, and the bank will not accept my acceptance letter as proof, and I live about four hundred and fifty kilometres away from Toronto.


You will have to contact your college registrar to get them to write you a letter of enrollment. This is pretty standard procedure, for student loan applications, blood donor transfusions and ways of scamming elderly millionaires of their estates (just kidding!), but college registrars are often busy in peak times of years, such as these, and it may take time to get them to write you a letter and either mail or fax it to you. Contact your registrar here.

Otherwise you could get a U of T tat branded onto your ass and flash your teller? Who knows, it could work.

xoxo, Askastudent


Read it and weep.


I’m doing a budget for the coming school year (aka figuring out how much money I can spend on Thai takeout/going to shows/clothes/other fun stuff whilst still having enough to feed myself) and have general figures for all my expenses except books. Could you give me a ball-park estimate of what a first-year Humanities student should expect to spend on books? I’m taking an economics course, a german course, and three social sciences courses, if that helps.



Before I answer your question, I want to say that… in the first week of class you will receive a course syllabus from your Prof. This will list the exact required readings for the course, and where you can pick them up – officially. Generally, it is not a good idea to buy your books before attending your first class. It’s common for students to switch up courses in the first week. You don’t want to have spent a billion dollars on books for courses that you ain’t takin’. Then again, you could avoid bookstore lineups by going early for courses that you know you MUST take.

But for now, for you… an estimate of book costs… yes. Let’s get down to business.

There are two ways to answer your question:

The standard response is… one thousand dollars. This is a very rough estimation, based on an equally approximate average of $200 per full course, or $100 per half course. Again, this is rough math (the only kind a humanities student like you really knows). Also, Humanities course books will certainly be cheaper than Science courses, namely because there are no goggles or lab coat required to read Shakespeare. What I am basing these numbers on? The word of a financial aid advisor, costs of books at the U of T bookstore, personal experience, and the positioning of the moon in the seventh house.

If you want a more accurate estimate of your course book costs, you can try to find out the prices for each course. I did some investigative work based on what you said you’re taking.

ECO100Y: Intro to Economics: for the Summer offering of this course, the U of T bookstore sold the course pack for $145.50.

GER100Y: Intro to German I: the German Department actually publishes its 2009-10 course syllabi online (amazing). The required textbook is listed there, and costs $45 on If it is sold at the Bookstore it will cost more. I promise.

POL103Y: Canada in Comparative Perspective: the Bookstore sold this book for $100 for the Summer offering of the course. is selling it for $95. Wooo. There is also a course reader (a bound collection of journal articles) that is required and typically costs around $100.

POL108Y1: Global Networks: last year’s course had three required readings that are available at the U of T Women’s Bookstore (where all the cool books are). Online they cost $10 + $10 + $15. Weekly readings are actually posted (for free) on the course website. Double wooo.

SOC101Y: Intro to Sociology: Prof. Brym actually designated a series of his OWN books as required readings. This is a moderately irritating cash grab, but then again, if you ain’t a Rotman Prof you ain’t exactly ballin’. The costs on the publisher’s website are: $104 + $60 + $23 = $187. You also need to buy an “iClicker” from the Bookstore for $35 – which is all the rage in Con Hall these days.

Okay! I’m exhausted. The point in doing all of this research is less about giving you exact monetary sums, and more about showing you the different ways of finding out what + how much your books are. Got it Watson?

Now, that was an “official” response to the issue of buying books… but the starving student response is… considerably cheaper. Below is a list of alternative methods/tips for getting your course books without succumbing to the inflated prices of the man.

a) Check out the library system: U of T’s library collection is friggin huge (the plus side of being at a massive university). Depending on how large your course is and how frequently the readings are required, you may be able to get by signing them out. Typically, Profs will put a few copies of a course reader in the “course reserves” section of the library. This limits your sign-out period to a day or two, or maybe the books can’t leave library. You can photocopy select readings from these if you want too.

b) Differentiate between required and recommended readings: when you’re poor… the word “recommended” takes on a new meaning – if you catch my drift. Usually these books are only useful if you are totally struggling, you are an ultra-keener, or for when you are writing essays.

c) Locate second hand bookstores. There is one across from the bookstore on College St. They have new and used books, and they are cheaper. Just find out if the editions are the same (they change very minimally every other year or so… just to milk us for more money). The Prof will tell you if an older edition will suffice.

d) Buy books directly from students who have taken the course last year. You will often find advertisements in res bulletin boards. Check these out even if you don’t live there.

e) As suggested before, ordering from, or directly from the publisher may be cheaper… depending on the shipping cost.

f) This may or may not be illegal… buuuut you can possibly photocopy a library’s copy of the entire textbook. Here’s what you do: get your hands on a copy of the textbook from the library, gather up a bunch of friends/acquaintances in your course, take the book to a local copy centre (the less mainstream, the better), and order as many copies as required. Why is this awesome? It’s waaay cheaper. Your fellow copyright infringers and you will become instant fugitives… I mean friends. And your version will come in a coiled binding that you won’t feel bad about defacing with highlighting and scribbles.

If I had even half of a moral in my body I would NOT suggest this on a University-sponsored forum, like askastudent. Lucky for you I don’t. So do it, but don’t go telling people I told you to. Do we understand each other?! I thought so.

The flipside to buying cheap books is selling old books. Post ads in residences or sell them back to the bookstore. This is actually quite a viable option. Apparently you can get back up to 50% of the original cost.

Will all the money that you save on books might I suggest spending it this way….

Indian takeout from Banjara

Muchos nachos at the Green Room (beware of funky draught beer)

Performances by the Drama Program at the Helen Garpheghasdfhgeklfns Playhouse

Streetcar + ferry ride + bike rental + picnic on Toronto Island

Get fancy and have one drink at Panorama (a better view than the CN tower will offer… because you can actually see the CN tower)

Classic/Alternative/Delayed movies at the Bloor Cinema (get a membership)


faust revisited

I got in. But missed the deadline for scholarships (Feb 27!), probably cannot afford to actually go unless I sell my soul to a bank, or anyone who would want to buy it in exchange for an education. Anyone?
How bad is it to borrow from the bank? Im working full time…and I have no financial help from my parents. What can I do? I would love some help in terms of resources, if there are scholarships left…Im looking but there is not much. I applied to UTAPS already. Anything else? Thank you very much.




Tiptoe through the tulips with me.

Dear Aska,

I really really need your help asap. I just found out today that I will be getting no OSAP from the government because according to them my parents make way more than enough money to cover it. However, they don’t seem to take into consideration the fact that my parents will NOT be covering it, nor have they put any money away for me, nor are they in the position of doing so since they’re way in over their head in debt. My mom’s currently in school too, hence she’s no longer working. So what the friggin hell can i do?!?! i mean there’s no way i can handle this comfortably unless i can get a bank loan, but paying that off in itself is going to be impossible and will place me in A LOT of debt by four years! I do have a job, but if i were to take that path strictly i’d probably only be able to cover the monthly interest. SO please HELP me! is there absolutely nothing i can do or anyone i can talk to at UOFT regarding this problem? is there any other form of financial aid that is available to me? any input you may have is highly appreciated please please tell me what other possibilities there may be, if there are indeed any!!

? (more…)


…must be funny, in the rich man’s world.

hey askak,

i m a first-year entering innis this fall, and i REALLY REALLY REALLY need money!!! (and experience and research skills and all the other crap that’ll eventually get me into med school…). So i m just wondering: exactly how to find those reaearch-type jobs on campus and would a prof actually consider hiring a lowly first-year????
ps. love ur site, more helpful than the ut sites…lol




Damn Government.

I want to live either on residence or find an apartment downtown for the next school year but my estimated OSAP funding isn’t enough for living expenses in Toronto. Is there anywhere else I could turn to? Grants, scholarships etc. I really don’t want to commute again this year since it takes about 1.5 hours each way. Thanks.

? (more…)

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