Financial Tips

The university's Money Matters web pages include current (2022) information on the cost of living in Halifax.

Student Survey

Back in 2017, fifty-eight BEDS students assembled financial information and tips for the benefit of incoming students. Here is a summary.


  • 14% of students live at home; 5% live in a student residence; and 81% live in an apartment or house off-campus.
  • The average monthly cost of off-campus accommodation (including rent, heat, water, and electricity) is $827 for a bachelor apartment, $735 for a one-bedroom, $633 for a share of a two-bedroom, or $657 for a share of a three-bedroom. [Note: In 2022, the low vacancy rate in Halifax has led to higher rents, so multiply these amounts by 2.]
  • 43% of students applied for external scholarships outside the university.
  • 60% of students have a student loan. Of those students, 74% found that the loan amount was not sufficient to cover all of their expenses.
  • 26% of students have a part-time job during the term, working an average of 8 hours per week.
  • 52% of students purchased a new computer when they started the BEDS program. The average cost was $2,000, with a range from $500 to $4,500.
  • The equipment package at the start of the BEDS program costs $500.
  • The average cost of supplies each term is $534. This includes books, drawing supplies, modeling supplies, software, and printing.
  • Of the B5 students, 47% reported that their B4 work term salary was greater than their work term expenses; 22% said that it was equal to their expenses; and 31% said that it was less than their expenses.


Individual students also offered financial tips on accommodation, equipment, materials, food, savings, and student loans:

  • Pay the extra money to live closer to campus. If that's not feasible, share an apartment with other students to keep rent costs down. After working late in the studio, a long commute home wouldn't be welcome.
  • Try to minimize the cost of rent, but ensure you are in a stable living situation.
  • Drafting equipment and computer programs are expensive. Budget accordingly.
  • Although Mac computers are more user-friendly, PC computers are less expensive and support all of the design-related programs you'll need. You don't need a high-end computer; something in the middle is fine. You can do high-end graphic work on the Faculty's computers.
  • Expect to pay $30 per month for an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.).
  • When making physical models, you can minimize purchases of new materials by reusing off-cuts and leftovers from the salvage depot in the studio and the scrap bins by the wood shop.
  • Keep your receipts in case you want to return something.
  • The biggest extra expense is eating out. Bring food from home instead.
  • Eat healthy. This program is demanding and requires high nutrition.
  • Save enough money before starting the BEDS program, so you don't have to worry about money on a daily basis.
  • To replenish your savings after the BEDS program, you can take a break between BEDS and MArch, or extend your MArch work term for an extra year.
  • Apply for external grants, bursaries, and scholarships. It doesn't take long and can pay tenfold for the time you put in.
  • Don't wait to apply for a student loan. Sometimes there are delays.
  • Having a part-time job during the academic terms is difficult but possible. Still, you won't have much time to make money. Saving before starting BEDS is a better option.

Budgeting for the First Calendar Year


  B1 (Fall) B2 (Winter) B3 (Summer)
School Tuition fees (2022-23; Canadian students) $4,788 $4,788 $4,788
" Incidental fees (2022-23) $1,200 $548 $576
" Drafting equipment (if needed) $500    
" Computer (if needed) $2,000    
" Books, supplies, printing $550 $550 $550
Home Accommodation (off-campus) $5,000 $5,000 $5,000
" Food $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
" Phone, internet, etc.
$600 $600 $600
" Travel to and from Halifax      
" Miscellaneous