Most expect to graduate owing over $20,000


TORONTO – Most college and university students who take out loans to pay for their studies expect to graduate with more than $20,000 of debt, a new study suggests.

The BMO survey says that about half of post-secondary students are taking on debt for school, and 58 per cent of those with loans expect to owe upwards of $20,000 when they finish school.

One-fifth, or about 21 per cent, expect to graduate with more than $40,000 in debt.

About 44 per cent of those students with debt believe they will be able to pay off their loans within five years of graduating.

Students in Atlantic Canada expect to owe the most and take the longest to pay it down.

About a quarter of students in the eastern provinces expect to owe more than $40,000, and only 30 per cent say they will be able to pay off their debt within five years.

BMO Bank of Montreal vice president Lily Capriotti says students should think about how they will repay their debt early on.

“Students often underestimate the amount of debt they will accumulate or the length of time it will take to pay it off,” she says.

Average tuition in Canada was $5,366 last year, and average student debt at graduation climbed to $18,800 in 2005 — the latest year for which statistics are available — from $15,200 a decade earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, polled more than 1,000 post-secondary students and is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Most expect to graduate owing over $20,000

  1. Obviously this has to change and fast…it’s not sustainable.

  2. Most underestimate how many other “demands” will detract from paying student debt. Cars, homes, social life, upgrading skills and families. Nor are starting salary expectations always in touch with reality.

  3. You only state how much tuition is. What about housing $5,000 and up. Books, $1,000 (if you are lucky). Food,$5,000. Seems to me students are going to me in a lot more debt that $20,000.

  4. I just finish my undergrad and now am doing a M.Sc. to be a physiotherapist … my whole loan debt by the end will exceed 100K …. I think I’ll move to the USA where I will actually make enough money to live and pay the loans.

  5. Tuition + rent + books + materials = a LOT more than $20000. Most students don’t make much more than minimum wage during the summer AND they have to pay room and board while they are working too. The total cost for a 4-year undergrad degree is probably close to $70000 – I’d say even with parents help and summer jobs most students will owe half of that. University is much more expensive than it should be ; for about 6 months of the year, holidays, summer vacation etc. they are practically unused. I used to work at Dalhousie and though some of the professors do research in the summers, the vast majority do not. A brilliant business model, but then the public school system is just as ridiculously inefficient. If you’re looking for entitled look at University, the public school system or the government (in no particular order).

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