It’s the beginning of the school year and if you have teenagers in their senior years of high school (Grades 11 & 12), many of you are thinking about the upcoming costs involved in higher education. Maybe you have been planning for it for some years now (RESPs?) or maybe you haven’t been able to plan due to extenuating circumstances. A 2016 CIBC survey finds that most parents are not aware of the high costs of tuition, and “they don’t know what to budget for their children’s non-tuition costs such as books, accommodation, and living expenses.” But whatever your situation, it’s a good idea to ramp up your awareness of the costs of postsecondary education so you can prepare to help your child meet their educational goals.
Here is what you need to know:
As mentioned in last week’s blog, according to a report by Statistics Canada, students enrolled full time in undergraduate programs will pay, on average, $6,463 in 2019/2020. Keep in mind that tuition varies by province and program. For example, tuition for the Engineering Program at Western costs $12,294! See links below for tuition by province / field of study.
The average cost of college tuition for one academic year for Diploma Programs is $2,400. Bachelor’s Degree Programs cost approximately $6,100.
These fees vary by institution and apply to all Canadian students. They include fees for campus groups, student newspapers, clubs, student health services, athletics, etc. On average, compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students are $914 in 2019/2020 with college fees approximately the same. The province of Ontario now has the Student Choice Initiative that allows students to opt out of fees for designated non-essential services. Maybe other provinces have a similar program. It would be prudent to check that out!
OTHER EXPENSES (Please note: I have used the University of Guelph’s estimated costs for the 2019/2020 year as an example of costs per year, except for the $950 textbook amount which was taken from Wilfrid Laurier University’s “Estimated First-Year Expenses.” I did this as an example of how costs can range and vary per university, program of study, living costs, etc.
- Textbooks, Equipment, & Supplies (materials necessary for a specific program such as photography, fine arts, science, etc.): $950-$1400
- Miscellaneous: cell phone, clothing, recreation, etc.: $2,250
- Living costs: OFF-CAMPUS rent incl. utilities ($4,800) and food ($2,600): $7,400 plus travel; RESIDENCE ($6,389) and full meal plan ($5,355): $11,744 plus travel
ACCORDING TO A 2017 MACLEAN’S SURVEY, THE AVERAGE ANNUAL COST OF A POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FOR A UNIVERSITY STUDENT:
– LIVING AWAY FROM HOME: $19,500
– LIVING AT HOME: $9,300
Having two young adults in university — one living at home while the other lives away — I can tell you that those numbers ring true!
So parents, you have just reached the first step in planning for your child’s postsecondary education: awareness of the cost!
According to a 2018 Canadian University Survey Consortium, 50% of Canadian students leave school with debt, with 32% owing $20,000 or more. A 2010 report by the Canadian Federation of Students states that Ontario and the Maritime provinces “have had the highest average debt loads, averaging more than $28,000.” Only 34% of bachelor graduates with student debt had paid off their student loans three years after graduation. Students as well as parents need to be aware of the costs of attaining a postsecondary education. Involve your teens in the process of strategizing on how to graduate with the smallest debt possible.
And remember . . . it’s never too late to look for scholarships to help lessen some of that potential debt!
LINKS TO ARTICLES / STATISTICS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU:
STATISTICS CANADA: Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study
STATISTICS CANADA: Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by province and selected field of study, 2019/2020
STATISTICS CANADA: Tuition fees for degree programs: Interactive tool
Need help in finding a career that “fits” you? Check out the Government of Canada’s National Occupational Classification page: Resources & Tools — Skills & Knowledge: Explore jobs or career options that match your skills and knowledge.
A cautionary tale: “My advice to individuals would be to think long and hard before you sign up for a big student loan.” Students graduating with debt say recent budget changes amount to ‘a tiny band-aid’ on a ‘gushing wound’
“A Global News inquiry suggests that top graduates in Canada’s tech industry are increasingly crossing the six-figure mark for entry-level jobs that don’t always require an advanced degree.” They have “majors in mathematics, statistics, computer science, or computer engineering.” Hot Jobs: The $100K entry-level job you can get here in Canada
ONTARIO’S LABOUR MARKET: Search job profiles including average annual income and education and training requirements that can help you in planning your future.
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