Why Early Start to Saving for Post-Secondary Education Remains Important


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Tuition costs for universities in Canada have increased in the last several years, with Statistics Canada revealing in a recent report that tuition for students who are attending undergraduate programs on a full-time basis averaged $6,571 for the 2017-2018 academic year. That represents a 3.1% increase over last year. The report also shows that, across Canada, the increase in average undergraduate tuition fees ranged from 0.1% in Alberta to 5.5% in Nova Scotia.

Although the cost of attaining a degree through a post-secondary school is rising, higher education is essential for students to obtain the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the employment market. A diploma can give students an advantage and can prepare them for the challenges and opportunities presented by a Canadian career landscape that is ever-evolving.

What will be the cost of a university education in the future?

There are a multitude of factors to examine when analyzing the costs of gaining a post-secondary education. In an analysis that combined data from Statistics Canada and university websites—and accounted for inflation— CST Consultants, one of Canada’s leading Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) providers, estimated that by the year 2036, the education cost of a four-year university degree for students living away from home might be as much as $146,000. CST Consultants’ estimate not only includes tuition, but also compulsory fees, books, room and board, transportation and entertainment.

The real tuition cost for a student will depend on a number of variables: the program that the student enrolls in; where the student chooses to study; and the amount and number of grants and assistance that the student receives.

The variability of education costs is one of the reasons why an RESP is an important way to prepare for future education expenses. Beginning early and mapping out a savings plan for the years ahead can help you  attract the maximum available education savings that the government contributes to an RESP—and in this way, you can grow your education savings more effectively.

The best way to pay for college, university or other post-secondary education

Starting early and implementing a plan for savings is the best approach to make sure you can help pay for future education costs, and establishing an RESP provides a method by which you can optimize your savings.

The Canadian government incentivizes the use of RESPs by contributing money to those families and individuals who save for future education costs through an RESP. The federal government matches 20% of monies contributed to an RESP up to $500 annually and a lifetime amount of $7,200 per child.  Some provincial governments also offer education saving incentives.

Preparing for education costs now can make a significant difference in later years and can enable you to address post-secondary education needs that you or your family will face. When families start saving for education early, it means that they and their children can face the rising costs of tuition in Canada without as much worry and can ensure that the focus remains on attaining the diploma or degree that leads to a bright future.

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