BMO finds half of Canadian parents pay children’s tuition

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BMO found 10 per cent of parents thought they’d be footing the whole bill.

A recent Bank of Montreal (BMO) study claims that almost half of Canadian parents expect to pay for all or most of their children’s post-secondary education.

The survey included 1,000 parents from coast to coast, who were questioned regarding the cost of tuition, books, living cost, and school supplies. However, associate VP of students, Tim Rahilly, suggested that SFU may not follow mainstream trends.

“I think SFU is perhaps a little different than some other schools insofar as the use of the student loan system. I think we have more part-time students proportionally than some other schools,” said Rahilly.

He explained, “I think our student demographic is slightly different because we draw from the nation of people who are relatively close by, along with people who are either first generation or new Canadians and so they tend to be a little bit more financially conservative. They don’t necessarily like to have a lot of debt, if I can stereotype slightly.”

Rahilly also served on the board for the Canadian University Survey Consortium (CUSC), which surveyed second and third year students this past year regarding the way students across Canada pay for their schooling. According to the survey, 71 per cent of middle years students at SFU rely on their family, spouse or parents for financing.

The CUSC study notes that although 73 per cent of students across Canada under 20 are relying on family for financial support, only 30 per cent of students 30 or older rely on their families the same way.

Rahilly speculated that this difference may stem from parents’ desire to continue providing for their kids. “[Parents] seem quite comfortable having those students live at home,” he explained. “I think that has two elements to it. One means that it saves the students the cost of renting or other housing costs, and secondly, I think it means that that particular family wants to stay involved and give support to that student.”

Despite the high number of students who are financially supported by their parents, the CUSC also revealed that 46 per cent of students at SFU work off campus, five per cent work on campus and two per cent work both on and off campus. The study also notes that there are varying degrees of how students say work affects their schoolwork.

“You have some students that reported negative impact to their work, but I think there’s some other work that shows that students who work, be it on campus or off campus, if they’re working a moderate amount then that is actually beneficial to them,” Rahilly commented.

No matter how SFU students pay for their schooling, Rahilly encourages working while attending university: “It gives them good skills, it keeps them involved, it means that they’re earning some money, and that is generally a positive thing.”