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Your tuition covers this

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At the start of fall term, I found myself needing therapy, and after shopping around for a therapist, I quickly realized how broke I was. After speaking with a psychologist at MacEwan University’s Counsellor, Wellness and Psychological Services, I discovered that I could afford therapy. 

It may not be news that you have a Canada Life health and dental plan through SAMU that is part of your tuition — except if you opt-out. However, since therapy is not expressly mentioned in the list of benefits, it is not immediately clear that it is included in the package. In addition to finding out that my student insurance covers 80 per cent of my therapy sessions (up to $500 per year), I also found out that MacEwan University has partnered with Inkblot, an online therapy resource, according to mystudentplan.ca. My first appointment was free. I chose a therapist based on history and credentials (available on the website), each one-hour session costs me $78, and the insurance company refunds me $63 less than a week after filing a claim. Although paying $15 an hour is not as good as free, it was a lifesaving alternative to dropping out of school.

Curious about what other student benefits students are missing out on, I searched the SAMU website and made another mind-blowing discovery: we have something called mylegalplan! With this plan, students have access to a 24/7 legal hotline. They can also book a legal consultation through the online portal, have access to an online legal library and customisable legal documents, and get $1,500 in legal support when they meet with a lawyer in person. Simply put, that is $1,500 to help with whatever legal problems you have. *insert “mind blown” emoji*

After finding out about mylegalplan, I knew there had to be more benefits, and it did not take me too long to find a third hidden gem in the University’s Sport and Wellness department. Beyond the apparent gym and swimming facilities, the department offers different sporting activities that include kickboxing, Olympic Weightlifting, and Zumba; the department also provides a spousal rate of $150 per semester. According to an email I received from the Sport and Wellness help desk, this rate can also apply to a significant other that you aren’t married to. To qualify for this package you only have to prove that you live together — a form of an ID or mail with matching addresses is enough.

Stereotype or myth, the broke college student narrative remains a reality for many students, especially in the last two years due to the fallback of the COVID pandemic. Like the rest of the population, students must find ways to stretch a dollar, but this task is still daunting no matter how prudent I am — and I am very cautious with money. So, from one broke college student to another, I hope this helps make things easier.

What are some other student benefits you know? Share them in the comment section below.

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