The Study Dude – Money for Beer & Textbooks

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants than for you to have loads of cash and endless resources at your disposal while in your studies.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

Today’s study tips are based on a reading of Kyle Prevost and Justin Bouchard’s book More Money for Beer and Textbooks: A Financial Guide for Today’s Canadian Student.

In spite of the book title and content, in no way does The Study Dude endorse alcohol consumption (It’s not at all the world you see in the media), but in every way does The Study Dude encourage having more spare change to spend.

Reconsidering the Degree Route: Arts and Humanities and the Working World
Prevost and Bouchard (2014) seem to think that business, mathematics, and engineering degrees earn more than the humanities and arts programs, but when The Study Dude was one of the top performers in the university math department, the job prospects were so dismal that an arts degree looked much more promising. The last thing I wanted to be career-wise was a music software programmer or an actuary, which were two of the nine major paths onto which the math degree promised to lead.

With that said, The Study Dude cannot deny the stats. Here are some things to consider concerning job prospects when choosing your degree:

– “The Canadian Department of Finance has released statistics showing that, in fields such as business, mathematics, and engineering, graduates earn twelve to seventeen percent of the upfront cost of their education every year, meaning it takes only about six to eight years to earn back all the money you spent on school” (Prevost & Bouchard, 2014, p. 164).
– Comparatively, “the social sciences and humanities came in at four to six percent: it takes about twenty years to earn back the money you spent on school” (Prevost & Bouchard, 2014, pp. 164-165). It takes roughly three to four times longer to pay off a social sciences and humanities degree compared to a business, math, or engineering degree.
– Although many people with bachelor degrees are underemployed (“24.6% of youth with university degrees who were employed full-time throughout 2005 were doing jobs that didn’t require university education” (Prevost & Bouchard, 2014, p. 165)), the stats for PhD graduates in liberal arts programs is not much better (as competition for teaching/professorial staff positions is exorbitant).
(Prevost & Bouchard, 2014)

But do not worry about these dismal results, as The Study Dude is planning on starting an additional bi-weekly article to help you get a head start with a career, regardless of your program of study.

Scholarship Realities and Sources
When the well ran dry for the Master’s funding, The Study Dude spent weeks before and weeks during the semester applying for scholarships. I won two that covered the majority of my expenses. The Study Dude believes you are entitled to some free money to aid in your pursuits, too. Here are some pieces of advice:

– $7 million in Canadian scholarships, grants, and the like go unclaimed a year. You deserve a piece of that pie.
– Use your extracurricular activities to leverage which scholarships you can apply for
– enter essay contests (as they have less competition, typically)
– see if your bank has a scholarship
– Go to the following sites for scouting out scholarships (in addition to approaching student awards office and the Student Union reps): (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), and (here).
(Prevost & Bouchard, 2014)

Trouble Repaying Loan: Do This Before the Trouble Starts
The Study Dude, abashedly, never had to get a student loan, especially as the graduate degree was covered by two hefty scholarships and lots of employment income. Yet here are some tips for paying back student loans that may help you in a crunch:

– Unless interest rates are very, very low, it is wise to get a student loan at variable rates rather than fixed. This is because “if you choose the reliability of a fixed rate, you pay extra for the guarantee; That’s why it is prime plus 5 percent instead of prime plus 2.5 percent” (p. 82)
– You can apply for a federal tax credit (and possibly a provincial credit, too) on the interest (p. 84).
– Well before you end up having trouble repaying the loan, apply for the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) before the crisis hits. “Interest relief and debt reduction” are two positive potential outcomes that you could be eligible for if having trouble repaying your loan (p. 83).
(Prevost & Bouchard, 2014)

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

Prevost, Kyle & Bouchard, Justin. (2014). More Money for Beer and Textbooks: A Financial Guide for Today’s Canadian Student. La Vergne, Tennessee: Young and Thrifty Publications.