The steep costs associated with college and university are taking a growing toll on the finances of both students and their parents, a recent survey reveals.
The Student Debt Survey, a Leger poll of 1,557 Canadians, was conducted on behalf of FP Canada (formerly Financial Planning Standards Council, or FPSC), a national professional body dedicated to fostering better financial health for Canadians. The survey follows a similar poll conducted by FPSC in 2017.
The survey reveals that eight-in-10 (82%) Canadians with children under 18 say they intend to assist their children with post-secondary costs—and they’re expecting this to have an even bigger long-term impact on their finances than they were two years ago. Nearly half of parents (48%) say they expect that providing this financial support will cause them to postpone their retirement—up from 41% in FP Canada’s 2017 survey. And, 42% say they expect it will prevent them from paying off debt, up slightly from 40% in 2017.
Two-thirds have helped children with post-secondary costs
Two-thirds (67%) of Canadians with children over the age of 18 say they have assisted their children with post-secondary costs. For some of those parents, that support has had a big impact on their financial situation:
One-in-five (20%) say assisting their kids with education costs has prevented them from paying off debt. That number is even higher in Ontario (26%) and Atlantic Canada (23%).
Sixteen percent say providing that support has forced them to postpone their retirement. That’s the case for nearly a quarter of Atlantic Canadians with adult children (23%) and one-in-five respondents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (19%).
Student debt postpones big life milestones
Approximately one third of parents (31%) say their children graduated or will graduate from college or university with more than $10,000 in student debt. These high levels of debt are especially common in Atlantic Canada (43%) and Alberta (37%).
This debt load is causing many young Canadians to postpone some big life milestones. One-in-five Canadians with adult children (19%) say student debt has caused their children to postpone buying a home, and one-in-10 say student debt has caused their children to postpone moving out. Adult children in Atlantic Canada are most likely to have postponed buying a home (25%), and those in Ontario are most likely to have postponed flying the coop (15%).
Canadians with children under 18 are expecting student debt to have a much bigger impact on their kids. More than half say they expect student debt will force their kids to postpone buying a home (51%), with even higher percentages in BC (61%), Alberta (58%) and Ontario (58%). Four-in-10 (42%) say they expect their kids to postpone moving out due to student debt.
About the Student Debt Survey
Leger conducted a survey of 1,557 Canadians between April 26-29, 2019 using its online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
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