Buy a condo, get free tuition

If you live on the west side of Lethbridge, there’s little doubt you haven’t driven past this sign:

Free Tuition

Free tuition for a year – what’s the catch? I did some investigatory journalism to give you the long and short of it: there is no catch, just another stupid marketing ploy.

The West Lake condominiums are located across the street from Nicholas Sheran park and within stumbling distance of the local pub, The Backstreet. They’re in a great location and very close to the University, thus making students an ideal target market. Also fully renovated, these are some nicely-styled dwellings.

Previously, the units were rented as run-down apartments. Condo Condo, and a few other development groups, have been buying up many apartment buildings and converting them into condos. Previous renters were either compensated (e.g. purchase discount) or displaced. It certainly didn’t help the affordable housing situation in Lethbridge, but that’s besides the point.

I inquired as to how this free tuition works. If you’re not a student, the cost of the unit is adjusted by $3500, meaning the units are overpriced. If you are a student and have at least a 4-course load, you can have your money transferred to the Registrar’s Office as a credit to your account. Although a year’s tuition will probably exceed that amount, any credit remaining at the end of the school year will be transferred back to the developer! You’re better off taking the adjustment right from the start.

Although this marketing gimmick worked well enough to get me into their showhome (kudos), I think that $3500 is a drop in the pocket for parents or those who can afford to spend $219,000 on a condo in the first place.

But the deal gets better! I don’t exactly understand why, but if you purchase a unit before this spring, you can shave $20,000 dollars off the selling price. Are they that overpriced? Regardless, if you’re looking for a small, but nice place to live, West Lake isn’t all that bad (if you can afford it). At the time of writing, there are only 4 units left.

If you’re in university and own one of these units, let me know! I’ll help you destroy the place (and introduce that cute 18-year-old to my dear friend, Vodka).