TORONTO, Aug. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - One-third (33 per cent) of first-year
post-secondary students (37 per cent of females and 27 per cent of
males) expect to have significant debt on graduation day, and are
deferring worrying about it until then (38 per cent), according to the
2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll. Females (44 per cent) are
more likely to be concerned than males (30 per cent).
This student worry is well-founded. According to a January 2010Statistics Canada report, the class of 2005 graduated with student loan debts averaging
$18,800, up from $15,200 a decade earlier. In addition, the proportion
of post-secondary graduates who owed $25,000 or more on their student
loans jumped to 27 per cent in 2005, from 17 per cent in 1995.
"Many post-secondary students are living on their own for the first
time, juggling school and living expenses - all of which can be very
stressful. It's not surprising that students tend to keep their worries
about loans and expenses on the backburner," said Kavita Joshi,
director, Student Banking, RBC. "A budget can certainly help you stay
on top of your debts and alleviate your financial stress."
The RBC poll also found that 34 per cent of students say that, thanks to
online and mobile budgeting tools, they are spending less cash than
they used to (36 per cent of females and 30 per cent of males). Still,
having enough money for school is a worry for many students (54 per
cent) - and females (61 per cent) are more likely to worry about their
finances than males (48 per cent). However, only 20 per cent plan and
stick to a monthly budget.
"Online financial management tools are a great resource to help you keep
track of how much you are spending and where you are spending it,"
added Joshi. "When you have your finances under control, it's much
easier to focus on what you want to achieve in school and after
Joshi offers three budgeting tips to help students avoid graduating with
a "D" for debt:
Prepare a budget and stick to it - A budget will help you live within your means and avoid unnecessary
debt upon graduation. To help alleviate financial stress, set a maximum budget and financial parameters for yourself. The RBC
online banking tool myFinanceTracker can help you see where your money is going.
Take control - Identify all of your expenses and assess how much you're actually
spending. Tools such as RBC's Student Budget Check Tool on the Better Student Life website and Student Loan Calculator can help you manage your money. As well, take advantage of advice seminars such as RBC's newly launched 20 minute seminars for students, which
gives you advice on budgeting, stretching your dollar further and
alternative financial sources, just to name a few.
Look for alternative financial options - Explore all financial options available, especially those that do not
need to be repaid, such as grants, bursaries and scholarships. Then
consider government loans and student bank loans. RBC awards over
$300,000 in scholarships each year. As well, there are various contests for students where you have the chance to win cash.
About the 2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll
The 2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll was conducted by Vision
Critical through an online survey, with a nationally representative
group of 1,000 first year university/college students between March 14
and 22, 2011. Students in this survey are defined as those who attend a
Canadian university or college and are in the first year of their
studies. In total, 86 per cent are 18 or 19 years of age, split
relatively evenly across gender. The maximum margin of error is ±3.1
per cent, 19 times out of 20.
About RBC's debt management and other financial tools
RBC's myFinanceTracker, a new online financial management tool, offers all personal RBC online banking clients the ability, at no cost, to create a set budget and track their
spending habits. Whether Canadians want to get more from their day to day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or
take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions (www.rbcadvicecentre.com). With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live,
Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about
RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one banking service.