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York, Ryerson offer free tuition for seniors

Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in Moneyville, Quality of Life | 0 comments

Read this article and comments on moneyville.ca

By Sheryl Smolkin

If you always wanted to get a university education but life got in the way, it may not be too late. Several Toronto universities will waive all or part of your tuition fees if you are over 60 and want to go back to school.

York University’s deal  applies to Canadian citizens or permanent residents whether they are registered in a degree course, as a visiting student or simply auditing a program. The fee waiver is capped for senior students to the level of tuition fees assigned to domestic (as opposed to international), non-professional undergraduate or graduate arts, science and other programs.

That means if you want to get a York Bachelor of Arts (basic annual domestic tuition: $7,500) or a Bachelor of Science (basic annual domestic tuition: $6,300) you will get a free ride for the full four years of your program. Similarly, tuition for a two-term graduate degree in a variety of disciplines (basic annual domestic tuition: $3,700) will be fully waived.

Related: Part-time school is a great solution

The deal is not quite as good if you want to go to law school (tuition of $20,000/yr. for each of three years) or get an MBA ($28,000 for two terms) because fees for these professional programs have been deregulated.

The fee waiver will be limited to tuition for regulated undergraduate and graduate programs (i.e. about $6,000-$7,000 /year for law school and $4,000 for an MBA.) Similarly, tuition for Osgoode Hall’s part-time LLM. programs is $20,153. The waiver is $4,785 and you  would pay fees of  $15,368.

You can only complete one York degree without paying all or part of the fees, but it’s still a great opportunity. After all, $25,000 or more over four years in free tuition is nothing to sneeze at. And as tuition increases, it will be even more of a bargain.

Related: How to use your RRSP to go back to school 

Ryerson also offers free tuition students over 60  for four-year undergraduate programs and McMaster University in Hamilton has a similar program for undergraduates over 65. In addition, McMaster reduces fees by 50 per cent for seniors registered in Continuing Education courses.  However, you are out of luck if the program you want is at University of Toronto, as only nominal ancillary fees are waived for older students.

I got an LLM.in the mid-90s, 20 years after I was called to the Bar, so embarking on another rigorous degree program at this stage is not at the top of my “To Do list.”  But if I ever get around to retiring and have some time on my hands, I will definitely be tempted to audit opera, music, theatre and other general interest courses.

Other colleges and universities in Ontario and across country also offer seniors a tuition break. For more information, contact the school of your choice.

Related: 7 ways adult students can pay for school

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