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80% of parents underestimate the cost of post-secondary education

Written by: Universitas

February 16, 2015

“Mom and dad, when I grow up I’m going to be a doctor!” According to a recent survey conducted by the firm CROP* for Universitas, nearly half of the children in Quebec (44%) dream of a profession that requires a university degree. In fact, one in five children wants to work in the field of healthcare and social services, 13% aspire to a professional occupation and 11% for employment in the field of science and technology.

Do parents in Quebec have the means to equal the ambitions of their children?

The survey reveals that one in ten parents (12%) doesn’t think they can afford to pay for their child’s post-secondary education. According to Statistics Canada and the Quebec Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), it currently costs $37,000 to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of university in Quebec, excluding housing expenses. However, 7 out of 10 respondents whose children had the highest ambitions believe these costs represent less than $30,000. This statistic increases to nearly 8 out of 10 if you include all the parents surveyed.

Moreover, when asked how they were saving for their children’s post-secondary education, 31% of parents admit they are not saving at all, and only 36% invest in an RESP. However, RESPs and the generous subsidies to which they entitle are an important asset that parents should be aware of.

Do these results reflect an awareness issue?

And yet, tuition fees have been a hot topic in the media on several occasions in recent years. It then stands to say that these costs do not represent a significant motivational factor for parents. According to a report by the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP)** Quebec remains one of the Canadian provinces with the lowest rate of RESP contributions. This suggests that Quebec may have to forego a number of potential future graduates if education savings do not grow in popularity in the coming years.

Sources:
*Online CROP survey using a Web panel from December 4 to 16, 2013 and included 503 Quebec parents with children aged 6-16 years.
**2013 CESP Annual Statistical Review, section 3.3, https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/reports.html

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