The majority have concerns about the financial weight of education, but fewer parents are saving for it
Universitas, a recognized name in education savings, has released a new report exploring trends in costs, attitudes, and savings behaviours surrounding education among people in Quebec.
According to the 2019 Universitas Barometer, conducted with the survey firm CROP, 28% of students in Quebec undergoing post-secondary education used RESPs as a source of funding in 2018. That’s up from 24% in 2017 and 22% in 2016.
Meanwhile, reliance on non-RESP funding for post-secondary education provided by parents has been going down. Starting from 53% in 2016, that dependence has shrunk to 49% in 2017, and 47% in 2016.
“In addition, for 70% of the 18- to 24-year-olds who benefited from an RESP [in 2018], these funds were a decisive incentive,” Universitas said in a statement. The status of RESPs as a source of motivation — its role as a key factor in students deciding to continue their education — has risen significantly from 62% in 2016.
The presence of RESPs as a source of funding has been critical in light of swelling costs of post-secondary education. Based on data collected in 2017, those expenses ranged from $35,518 (for two years of CEGEP) to $99,000 (five-year education) for students living away from home. The survey revealed that 69% of young people are concerned about the financial burden of their education; that concern is accentuated by the dip in ad hoc monetary support that students get from their parents from 53% in 2016 to 47% in 2018.
“Paradoxically, although the RESP is gaining ground as a source of funding for students, fewer parents in Quebec are saving for post-secondary education,” Universitas said. Among those parents, 35% admitted they have no education savings at all; 28% said the same thing in 2017, and 27% said so in 2016. Focusing on RESP savings specifically, the savings rate has declined from 59% in 2016 and 2017 to 52% in 2018.
When parents who weren’t saving were asked why, 56% cited a lack of financial resources, while just over a third said they plan to start saving in the future.
“We can be delighted that, among the parents who are saving for education, the RESP remains by far the preferred investment vehicle (79%),” said Marjorie Larouche, senior advisor of communications and public relations at Universitas. The main reason, according to the firm, was that the government provides grant money to supplement RESP savings by up to $12,800 per child.