Canadian university students may not be as deeply indebted as we think.
Tangerine surveyed students in post-secondary institutions across the country and found that while 64% of students are currently in debt, only 27% of them report that they owe more than $10,000.
This number seems low, especially when compared to estimates from the Canadian Federation of Students of how much students will graduate with. They peg the average number closer to $27,000.
Meanwhile the latest Statistics Canada data from 2010 states 36% of undergraduate students graduated with debts between $10,000 and $24,999. And that was five years ago.
Since then post-secondary education costs have continued to climb. A recent report by BMO states that the costs of tuition, textbooks and other supplies rose 3.1% year over year in September 2014.
When asked how much debt they expect to graduate with, 39% of students told Tangerine that they did plan on owing more than $10,000.
It seems that while many students rely on loans, they are also working hard to save money to put towards post-secondary costs. Around 45% of students surveyed by Tangerine reported that they saved what they consider “a lot” for university.
Accordingly, around a third say that they plan to pay for everything—including tuition and spending money—themselves, while another 29% said they plan to pay for at least half of their school costs.
So where is this money coming from? Nearly half of the students surveyed, or 49%, reported that they’re tapping into their personal savings, while another 53% stated that full-time and part-time jobs are helping them fund their university educations.
Regardless of whether they’re working, money for school remains a top concern for around 73% of students.
Even among those who’ve had their tuition paid for by family or friends, 25% say they earn their own spending money during the school year.
In general students appear worried about their chances of becoming financially independent after graduation. Around 58% of students are worried about how much longer they’ll have to live with their parents after they’re done school, according to a separate RBC poll. After all, moving out becomes an especially difficult feat if saddled with heaps of student debt.
Maybe this is why 45% of students polled by RBC are worried about finding a job after university and a total of 70% worry whether they’ll earn enough money to cover living expenses and student debt.