Cost of Living as a Laurier Student

This article was written by Maggie Hoang, a 2nd year Business Administration student who currently works part-time with Laurier’s Student Finance team.

Whether you’re coming to Wilfrid Laurier University this fall as a new or returning Golden Hawk, chances are money is on your mind. It can be stressful to think about personal finances in a new environment and lifestyle, but it’s important to consider what your new budget might look like and plan accordingly. Fortunately, Laurier has lots of financial support to help alleviate your stress and subsidize some of the expenses that may be stressing you out.

If you’ve been asking around to estimate your university expenses, keep in mind that current students can’t give you the most accurate numbers or advice because they started in a different year. Instead, check out Laurier's Estimated Cost Table for first-year expenses, with ranges of how much you can expect to pay for things like tuition, residence, meal plans, and more.

Expected estimated living expenses

 Cost of Living as a Laurier Student

Above is a pie chart showing the approximate distribution of the cost of living for students where rent and food take up the largest proportions of the chart.

Cost of living for Laurier campuses

Below you will find an estimated cost of living expenses for all our Waterloo, Brantford, and Milton campuses. Expenses are based on estimates found on Numbeo.

Campus location On-campus cost Off-campus cost
Waterloo campus $1,980 - $2,470 $1,810
Brantford campus $1,850 - $1,968 $1,760
Milton campus N/A $1,710

You might find these numbers hard to swallow, or even feel like you’re on your own — trust me, I’ve been there. But university is a place where you can learn from your peers and others in your new community. In fact, plenty of Laurier financial supports and services are already included in your mandatory school fees, so you might as well make the most of them to help alleviate your stressors. With the right mindset and strategies in place, these numbers will be less daunting, leading you to a brighter future and an amazing school year ahead.

Student awards and financial aid

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is an accessible financial support that over 60% of our students use. If you qualify for funding, you get to decide how to spend it (tuition, groceries, gas, you name it), and your application could even open the door to other grants and funding opportunities! You might have a lot of questions when you first apply, but don’t worry — our Student Finance office (and lots of students who have applied before you!) are here to help.

Laurier also has many awards, scholarships and bursaries you can apply for. To be eligible to receive some of these, you need to complete the General Student Profile and Faculty Specific Student Profile which can be found under the Student Awards and Financial Aid tab in LORIS. A list of important deadlines can be found here. In addition, Laurier has entrance scholarships and in-course scholarships for students and these are based on your GPA, so no applications are needed.

Work opportunities

Working part-time is a great way to help offset some of your expenses. The Laurier Work Study Program helps students find on-campus, flexible employment. You can also find on-campus (and off-campus!) job postings on Laurier’s career and experiential learning portal, Navigator.

Lifestyle supports

Maybe you want to start hitting the gym but don’t want to commit to an expensive gym membership. Or maybe you’re concerned what it’ll cost to get some extra support with your courses. Or perhaps you’re worried about being able to maintain a decent menu with tuition eating up your budget. Worry no more! Laurier has programs and services designed to help students keep up a healthy lifestyle without an intimidating price tag. Here are a few for starters:

  • Free Food Programs or Meals: Many campus events will offer free, or low-budget, meals for students. Check out the concourse regularly for clubs/vendor booths that give out free snacks! There are also recurring programs that offer free meals and food assistance.
  • On-Campus Amenities: In your student invoice, you will see small fees automatically charged to your account for the different amenities Laurier has to offer, such as the Athletics and Recreation Centre, social events, and clubs.
  • Mental Health/Wellness Services: Laurier has a lot to offer when it comes to mental and physical wellness to help you stay centered and on track during your time here.
  • Academic Support: The learning environment here might be different than what you’re used to and we want to ensure you have the right study skills and support to adjust smoothly. Laurier has writing support on campus that will allow you to get your work reviewed and receive feedback before your final submission. If you are in a math-heavy program and are desperately looking for tutor videos to help, look no further because Laurier has Math and Stats support as well.

Above all, remember that you’re not alone as you settle into university life and sort out your newfound financial responsibilities. In addition to family and friends, there are so many experts here at Laurier who are eager to support you. We wish you the best of luck and success with your academic and personal journey!

Want some one-on-one guidance on how to manage your finances? Book a 30-minute appointment with our Financial Coach or sign up for our Money Management Certificate.

Learn more about Wilfrid Laurier University