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ATG4B

3yr vs 4yr finances - What would you do?

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I have been offered a spot at UofC as an OOP. I have my fingers crossed that I will get offered a spot at UBC as an IP, but I am already concerned about finances (I’m an ex-banker) :rolleyes:

I have created a huge excel file and after running the numbers, I would save about $70k by going to Calgary because it’s a 3yr program (and because rent is crazy expensive in Vancouver and I would want to live a short commute to UBC/VGH). To put it into slightly better perspective, it’s like $200k for UofC or $270k for UBC. If I go to UofC, my husband will stay in Vancouver (he has a job with a pension and I wouldn’t want him to lose that until I know I am going to be somewhere more permanent, e.g residency). He’d stay in our current place outside the city because we have cheap rent (which would be good far for me to commute if I got to UBC). 

I know that social support is a pretty big deal through medical school because of how gruelling it can be. I also have built up quite a few contacts in Vancouver and I know ultimately I would probably want to come back for residency. Anyone had to make a similar decision or have some insight?

Thanks! 

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First, congrats! Do you have *any* reason to prefer Calgary other than the difference in cost? Does the difference in program length matter to you otherwise? How sure are you of the residency programs you'd apply to or are you completely undecided at this point?

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1 hour ago, Lactic Folly said:

First, congrats! Do you have *any* reason to prefer Calgary other than the difference in cost? Does the difference in program length matter to you otherwise? How sure are you of the residency programs you'd apply to or are you completely undecided at this point?

Thanks! Definitely breathing a sigh of relief going into the decision from UBC. Thanks for the reply and great questions!

Yes, there are actually a lot of things that do appeal to me about Calgary. 3yrs would be nice, since I am an older applicant. Also, I like that pretty much all their classes and clinicals are in one spot. I think I may be partial to a more traditional “block” curriculum as opposed to spiral too. But above all, I really liked their application and admission process - they are super transparent and I got a really supportive vibe at the interviews. I do prefer UBC’s anatomy program however, as Calgary is a prosection school. In terms of residency - definitely not decided, but my top 3 right now (in no real order) are anesthesiology, neurosurgery and oncology (via internal med). 

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Calgary had an awful match rate, having 20+ people go unmatched in a class of 170 is very very abnormal. If you wanted family or internal sure I guess it doesn't really matter the school you go to so why not safe some money. If you wanted a competitive program or not sure what you want, I would prefer a 4 year education where you dont have to decide what you want to specialize in in preclerkship before any of your clerkship cores. At Calgary, your electives (what you do these in reflects what youre applying to) are before most of your cores. 

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You are actually considering moving away from your husband/family without needing to because of a 70k difference over ALL OF MED SCHOOL?! I realize above posters disagree but I’m almost flabbergasted at how bad of a choice that would be. Basically count me in the “go to UBC” pile

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I would personally stay at UBC, since your husband lives in Vancouver and all your social support is in Vancouver. 70 K doesn't make a huge difference in long run. UBC definitely has rural sites, and personally, I don't find attending medical school lectures that high yield. 

Medical school could be tough without friends and family support. Most of the people usually pick medical school for geographical reasons as their partner and family members stay in the city where their medical school is located at. For residency, each medical school tends to prefer its own medical students, which is understandable given the social connection you could build in preclerkship and it's easier to do electives at your home school. 

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47 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

You are actually considering moving away from your husband/family without needing to because of a 70k difference over ALL OF MED SCHOOL?! I realize above posters disagree but I’m almost flabbergasted at how bad of a choice that would be. Basically count me in the “go to UBC” pile

That was my husband’s reaction :D 

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56 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

You are actually considering moving away from your husband/family without needing to because of a 70k difference over ALL OF MED SCHOOL?! I realize above posters disagree but I’m almost flabbergasted at how bad of a choice that would be. Basically count me in the “go to UBC” pile

To be fair, calgary is a 3 year school. The OP also loses a year of working which is like an extra 250k of billings if they go into family medicine, and maybe even more if they choose to specialize.

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10 hours ago, ATG4B said:

I have been offered a spot at UofC as an OOP. I have my fingers crossed that I will get offered a spot at UBC as an IP, but I am already concerned about finances (I’m an ex-banker) :rolleyes:

I have created a huge excel file and after running the numbers, I would save about $70k by going to Calgary because it’s a 3yr program (and because rent is crazy expensive in Vancouver and I would want to live a short commute to UBC/VGH). To put it into slightly better perspective, it’s like $200k for UofC or $270k for UBC. If I go to UofC, my husband will stay in Vancouver (he has a job with a pension and I wouldn’t want him to lose that until I know I am going to be somewhere more permanent, e.g residency). He’d stay in our current place outside the city because we have cheap rent (which would be good far for me to commute if I got to UBC). 

I know that social support is a pretty big deal through medical school because of how gruelling it can be. I also have built up quite a few contacts in Vancouver and I know ultimately I would probably want to come back for residency. Anyone had to make a similar decision or have some insight?

Thanks! 

I'd honestly suggest UBC over U of C given that your husband is living in Vancouver anyways. The ability to lean on your support network -- who is physically there -- when things are getting tough at school can't be understated. It can be stressful to have to keep up with family/friends if they aren't close to you during school. Additionally, if you want your husband to keep that job with a pension long-term (i.e. if you want to match to UBC for residency), your best bet would be to go to UBC for med school. UBC has a reputation (at least at the U of A) as being really difficult to get electives at for non-UBCers. If you can't get electives, it's harder to match vs someone who's had the face-time with local staff. As an ex-banker, I'm sure you can appreciate that the value of a pension and happy relationship is much greater than $70k/4yrs ;).

1 minute ago, hero147 said:

To be fair, calgary is a 3 year school. The OP also loses a year of working which is like an extra 250k of billings if they go into family medicine, and maybe even more if they choose to specialize.

Conversely, OP loses $20k in tuition if they go unmatched for a year if they decide that they absolutely don't want to do family med. Or a pension (which is probably greater than $170k post-tax) if they match outside of Vancouver and the husband has to move. Or more if the relationship breaks up because of the distance + stress.

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1 minute ago, insomnias said:

I'd honestly suggest UBC over U of C given that your husband is living in Vancouver anyways. The ability to lean on your support network -- who is physically there -- when things are getting tough at school can't be understated. It can be stressful to have to keep up with family/friends if they aren't close to you during school. Additionally, if you want your husband to keep that job with a pension long-term (i.e. if you want to match to UBC for residency), your best bet would be to go to UBC for med school. UBC has a reputation (at least at the U of A) as being really difficult to get electives at for non-UBCers. If you can't get electives, it's harder to match vs someone who's had the face-time with local staff. As an ex-banker, I'm sure you can appreciate that the value of a pension and happy relationship is much greater than $70k/4yrs ;).

Conversely, OP loses $20k in tuition if they go unmatched for a year if they decide that they absolutely don't want to do family med. Or a pension (which is probably greater than $170k post-tax) if they match outside of Vancouver and the husband has to move. Or more if the relationship breaks up because of the distance + stress.

I do agree that the OP should stay in Vancouver mainly because it will be easier to match to vancouver being a UBC student and I dont think any amount of money is worth staying away from your loved ones for an extended period of time. But at the same time, the OP should know that its not just 70k. Plus they could easily go unmatched at UBC as well, its not specific to Calgary.

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Yes, definitely more at stake here than just 70k... that is very true! Thank-you for reminding me .. it’s easy to overlook that when you focus just on the numbers. Fingers crossed I hear good news tomorrow, but if not, at least I have Calgary as a back up. 

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Your numbers seem high, average medical school debt is closer to $150,000 after 4 years. How did you reach $270,000?

Also, if you are splitting rent with your husband in Vancouver shouldn't that be a wash compared to paying full rent in Calgary for yourself + full rent just outside Vancouver for husband?

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1 minute ago, Redpill said:

Your numbers seem high, average medical school debt is closer to $150,000 after 4 years. How did you reach $270,000?

Also, if you are splitting rent with your husband in Vancouver shouldn't that be a wash compared to paying full rent in Calgary for yourself + full rent just outside Vancouver for husband?

We are currently paying $950 for rent, but to move close to UBC it will be at least $2500 (probably closer to $3000). Yes, it’s insanity but that’s what a 1-bedroom who will take pets goes for in this city these days! If I rent myself in Calgary, yes it would be close to a wash (probably still a bit cheaper), but only for 3 years. I honestly don’t know how people do it for $150k unless they live in a city where rent is <$1000 or maybe they room with other people. Tuition alone takes you to $100k easily. I haven’t factored in bursaries, but that’s not a guarantee either. Trust me, I would like to be as little in debt as possible :rolleyes:

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22 minutes ago, ATG4B said:

We are currently paying $950 for rent, but to move close to UBC it will be at least $2500 (probably closer to $3000). Yes, it’s insanity but that’s what a 1-bedroom who will take pets goes for in this city these days! If I rent myself in Calgary, yes it would be close to a wash (probably still a bit cheaper), but only for 3 years. I honestly don’t know how people do it for $150k unless they live in a city where rent is <$1000 or maybe they room with other people. Tuition alone takes you to $100k easily. I haven’t factored in bursaries, but that’s not a guarantee either. Trust me, I would like to be as little in debt as possible :rolleyes:

It sounds like you are planning for worst-case scenarios, which is usually good financial planning, but I think you are going a bit overboard in this case. Tuition is not over $100k, even if you include the ~$10k extra that UBC budgets for CaRMS, it's less then $90k - see here: https://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/student-resources/financial-support/cost-of-an-md-student/

And Vancouver is bad for rent, but not that bad - $2500-$3000 is the budget for a 2 bed, 1 beds are definitely lower than that. I know because I'm renting a 1 bed close to VGH right now. Half of that shouldn't be debt as well if your husband is earning an income. So $1250 x 48 months = $60k - this would be the higher end for you.

I would consider re-visiting your calculations and assumptions. You will still be saving money by going to Calgary I think, but it is not going to be as much as you calculated. $70k would be almost quadruple one year's worth of UBC tuition, per the link above.

EDIT: did you also factor in the tax benefits of living together as a married couple? You can transfer tuition credits + spousal credits because you don't make an income, which will give several $k back throughout your studies - not sure if you are eligible for these if you are not living together

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50 minutes ago, Redpill said:

It sounds like you are planning for worst-case scenarios, which is usually good financial planning, but I think you are going a bit overboard in this case. Tuition is not over $100k, even if you include the ~$10k extra that UBC budgets for CaRMS, it's less then $90k - see here: https://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/student-resources/financial-support/cost-of-an-md-student/

And Vancouver is bad for rent, but not that bad - $2500-$3000 is the budget for a 2 bed, 1 beds are definitely lower than that. I know because I'm renting a 1 bed close to VGH right now. Half of that shouldn't be debt as well if your husband is earning an income. So $1250 x 48 months = $60k - this would be the higher end for you.

I would consider re-visiting your calculations and assumptions. You will still be saving money by going to Calgary I think, but it is not going to be as much as you calculated. $70k would be almost quadruple one year's worth of UBC tuition, per the link above.

Yes, I have definitely erred on the side of caution. I have included money for food, car insurance, gas, small spending money etc. That alone is close to another $1000/mo. It definitely all adds up, but hopefully it will end up being less than expected. 

Edit: I am also heading into this with $50k in student loans from undergrad, so I am factoring that into the total ;) 

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Congratulations on your acceptance!! :D 

Having been in a long-distance relationship for part of med school, I would personally choose the school that allowed me to be in the same city as my partner. I personally feel that having that support is worth the extra cost.  Best of luck with the decision!

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50 minutes ago, ploughboy said:

Your numbers and assumptions are off.  Why can't you commute for M1 and M2? 

You've also drawn the boundaries of your system in the wrong place -- will a divorce cost you more or less than $70,000?

I’m quite confident we could make it work long distance for 3 years - we have been together for 17 years. It’s not ideal, but we would make it work. With respect to commuting, I’ve done it many times in my life for work and I am a firm believer that you should live close to where you work (or study). For me it makes a big difference in terms of quality of life. 

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On 5/9/2019 at 1:40 PM, goleafsgochris said:

You are actually considering moving away from your husband/family without needing to because of a 70k difference over ALL OF MED SCHOOL?! I realize above posters disagree but I’m almost flabbergasted at how bad of a choice that would be. Basically count me in the “go to UBC” pile

Agree. 70k is not worth 3 years separation.

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On 5/9/2019 at 2:42 PM, insomnias said:

I'd honestly suggest UBC over U of C given that your husband is living in Vancouver anyways. The ability to lean on your support network -- who is physically there -- when things are getting tough at school can't be understated. It can be stressful to have to keep up with family/friends if they aren't close to you during school. Additionally, if you want your husband to keep that job with a pension long-term (i.e. if you want to match to UBC for residency), your best bet would be to go to UBC for med school. UBC has a reputation (at least at the U of A) as being really difficult to get electives at for non-UBCers. If you can't get electives, it's harder to match vs someone who's had the face-time with local staff. As an ex-banker, I'm sure you can appreciate that the value of a pension and happy relationship is much greater than $70k/4yrs ;).

Conversely, OP loses $20k in tuition if they go unmatched for a year if they decide that they absolutely don't want to do family med. Or a pension (which is probably greater than $170k post-tax) if they match outside of Vancouver and the husband has to move. Or more if the relationship breaks up because of the distance + stress.

Divorce is $$$$$$

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On 5/10/2019 at 3:10 PM, ATG4B said:

For anyone who was curious, I was offered UBC (VFMP) and have accepted! :D Thanks to everyone for all your input, it really did help make my decision a lot easier. 

Glad to hear it! 

I jumped on this thread a little late, but as a former Albertan who was once in your shoes, and who chose to stay in Vancouver with her spouse to go to UBC med, I cringed at the possibility you might move if you didn’t have to! Med school is tough, and the only things that have kept me sane are my partner’s support and being able to keep running outside year-round because I am not at risk of freezing to death in the winter time. 

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