Most Students Stressed About Student Debt And Paying For School

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When you think about how to pay for the rest of your education, does your heart start racing? Do your palms get sweaty?

You’re not alone. According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Student Finances Survey, 58% of Canada’s post-secondary students feel either anxious (34%) or stressed (24%) when they think about how they are going to pay their way through school.

“Earning a post-secondary qualification requires a big investment. We know that managing finances on your own can be stressful or even intimidating.” —Michelle Snow, Group Manager, Student Banking, TD Canada Trust

While 64% expect to graduate with debt hanging over their heads, one quarter of students anticipate they will owe more than $25,000.

Despite their concerns, 92% of students say they are still managing to save some money, with some of their top priorities being:

  • education savings (42%)
  • debt repayment (34%)
  • a home down payment (31%)

“Earning a post-secondary qualification requires a big investment, and it’s reassuring to see that so many students are taking their finances seriously, managing to save for the future or to pay down debt,” says Michelle Snow, Group Manager, Student Banking, TD Canada Trust.

“We know that managing finances on your own can be stressful or even intimidating, so we encourage students to come talk to us if they need help figuring out how to best manage their money.”

The biggest challenge for many students is the cost.

The average cost of a four-year university degree is $80,000, and according to the survey, 81% of students say this feels like “a fortune”.  To alleviate some of their concerns, more than two thirds of students say they work during the school year (69% versus 55% in 2010). More than half (56%) work more than 11 hours a week to make ends meet.

Students overwhelmingly feel having a post-secondary qualification on their resumé will help them stand from the crowd in today’s job market (96%), and 49% of these students think it’s vital.

  • 28% feel practical training at a trade school or college degree is sufficient to be competitive in today’s workplace
  • 31% feel an undergraduate degree is necessary
  • 36% feel an undergraduate plus master’s degree is necessary

Outside of staple expenses, the top discretionary expenses students face are transportation costs, such as gas, car insurance and public transport (36%), eating out at restaurants (28%), and new technology like mobile phones and laptops (13%).

How do these survey results compare to your financial situation?

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About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.