Only in Quebec, can we get a quality university education at a very low cost compared to the rest of the north america. I did a simulation for the absolute lowest cost a Quebec resident can pay to study in science; here's the results:
According to Concordia university fee calculator, the going rate for a 3 credit course with its compulsory fees is 356.93$. When studying the whole year, that turn out to be 1070.79$ which come out at about 90$ per month. Double that with 6 credits.
One's need books to study course content and there is a free solution that I started to use recently. I have begun filling out surveys at http://www.i-say.com/. Obviously, the payout is pretty cheap at around 1.35$ to 1.80$ per day (1 points == 0.01$) for which you have to fill out survey (what I'd call a necessary evil) but given that you have to buy books every 4 month, it is sustainable enough for a 3 credit course load (1.35$ / day * 4 month == 164.25$). You have to transfer the points into Amazon gift certificate to be able to buy books.
What about computers (to take notes in class, do homework and fill out surveys)? the Samsung chromebook (359.99$) at Amazon.ca or else, slightly cheaper, the Acer C7 (309.19$) but the former has a 1.7Ghz Exynos Arm based processor while the later has a 1.1Ghz Intel based processor and both features 2GB of ram which is more than enough for Chrome-OS (I have it running on an atom based netbook with 1GB of ram) but the only caveat is that there is no statistical analysis software available as a chrome application. I haven't tested Google's spreadsheet to see if it offer a good sample of statistical function but I expect it to be similar to Microsoft Excel.
For a cheaper computing solution, I will detail in a next post how to convert an used x86 or x64 based netbook to a chromebook using the free Chromium-OS which I did to my netbook.
A printer is useful and I'd get a brand new monochrome laser printer. My preference goes to Epson or HP and I used to recommend Samsung (they work pretty well) but cartridge price is not cheap for the last one. Check the price of a ~2000 pages cartridge before buying.
That's it :)
Now, what's the target demographic for that post: every person who has a significant disability like a severe back injury and for which, the doctor diagnosed the disability as permanent and who rely on Quebec's safety net to live. People I meet on a regular basis, who may have a mental illness and who want to thrive but don't have access to bursary provided by Quebec's student financial aid (like I do) or don't want to go into debt which could represent a problem when come the time to pay for the loans (and that hit close to home too).
Update: futureshop list the chromebook at 271.64$ which is much cheaper than amazon.