News and Events

On Campus: Tuition Tutorial

July 9, 2015
Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in "On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

September 22 is a fairly unremarkable date.

It isn’t a holiday. There are no songs, festivals, celebrations, greeting cards, or fanfare associated with September 22.

It is the kind of day that could just quietly slip by.

But if you’re a Medicine Hat College student, please don’t let that happen. In fact, it might work out for the best if you start thinking about September 22 right now.

At least, that would be the preference of the trio of helpful people who make up our student financial aid office. Connie Cash — yes that is the name of our student finance officer — points out that September 22 is the last day to pay tuition for the fall semester.

Connie and her team are great people. Friendly. Dedicated. Knowledgeable. And they are committed to helping students succeed.

However, there is way more they can do to help students who plan for expenses and deadlines compared to those who don’t. The first advice Connie has for students, especially the 36 per cent or so who turn to student loans to support their investment in education, is ‘plan ahead.’

One example of advanced planning: Alberta’s online loan application process opened July 7 for students beginning studies this fall. Navigating that process will require students to collect some information, take some time, and make sure the application is complete and accurate.

The time to do that is now. It is so much better to discover a hitch or a glitch with weeks and months to spare, rather than allowing the deadline clock to dwindle through the summer.

Once that application is complete, and let’s just assume the needed funding becomes available, Connie says it is important to read the fine print.

For example, it isn’t uncommon for funding to be provided in two installments, and the amounts may not be the same. Connie suggests creating an annual budget that shows expenses, and the finer details of student loan installments, to be sure that funds intended to last an academic year really will make the distance.

Connie also says that there’s no reason for loan applications and budgets to be intimidating. Staff in the college’s financial aid office are more than willing to share their experience, point to other forms of student funding, and do everything they can to help.

Just give them a call, sooner rather than later.