Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Back to School: How Mature Students Can Fund Continuing Education

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Back to School: How Mature Students Can Fund Continuing Education

Article excerpt

How mature students can make back to school plans

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VANCOUVER - When Kear Porttris decided to pursue a university degree in 2010, he had to contend with responsibilities that don't cross the minds of many freshman straight out of high school, including paying his mortgage and feeding his daughter.

Mature students who return to education have much more complex financial lives, experts say, and determining how to pay thousands of dollars in tuition, books and other expenses can be tricky. But with proper planning, a university degree can offer a good return on investment.

Money coach Melanie Buffel, who returned to complete her MBA as a single mom more than 20 years after finishing her last degree, says adults must plan carefully before returning to school as a mature student.

"There's a lot of homework," says Buffel, who works with Money Coaches Canada.

She suggests prospective students should first add up all the costs of school, including easily overlooked items such as additional childcare and transportation.

With a clear picture of how much money is needed, the next step is to determine whether to work full-time, part-time or not at all during their studies.

Continuing to work can be good for more than just a paycheque, she says.

Some employers will help fund continuing studies -- usually so long as the worker remains with the company for a set period of time after graduation -- and may continue to provide various health and life insurance benefits.

After estimating how much they'll earn while in school, she says, students can determine other sources that can be tapped to make up for any shortfall. …

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