University: The Possible Dream
Can you afford post-secondary education for your kids? The answer is yes - and without breaking the bank or coming into an inheritance.
Published in Homemakers in May 2010 (Money)
They don't call it higher learning for nothing.
The current cost of a four-year university degree (for a student living away from home) is $77,000. In 17 years (2027), it will be $137,000 - and many financially strapped parents are wondering how they'll ever be able to afford that hefty price tag.
They fear they'll have to cash in their retirement savings, take out a home-equity loan or work until they're 70 to see their kids through school. And if they can't scrape together the dough for tuition, books, residence fees and meal plans, they worry their new grad will enter the job market owing tens of thousands of
dollars in student loans.
But parents can relax. Plenty of middle-income Canadian families are managing to get their kids through university without breaking the bank. Even parents who haven't been able to sock away hundreds of dollars in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) every month are coping.
Sure, in some cases, careful long-term planning and saving has allowed parents to foot much of the education bill, but in many others, a combination of loans, scholarships, summer jobs and living at home has helped to make costs more affordable.
Some of their children will have debt, but it will represent only a fraction of the total cost of their education.
Here's how four families managed the costs of getting their kids through university.