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Canada's post-secondary students head back to school, worried over money, debt and job prospects: CIBC Poll

Nearly half of all post-secondary students worry they can't pay upcoming school year's tuition, living expenses or repay their debt

TORONTO, Aug. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - A new poll by CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) finds that nearly half of post-secondary students in Canada (48 per cent) worry that they won't be able to cover the upcoming school year's tuition and living expenses, or pay back their student debt once they graduate. In addition, over one-third expect to graduate with more than $25,000 in debt.

Key poll highlights include:

  • 48 per cent of students are most worried about covering their upcoming school year's tuition and living expenses or repaying their student and school-related debt
  • This was followed by 37 per cent of post-secondary students who say finding a job that pays well after graduation is their top concern
  • 36 per cent expect to owe $25,000 or more when they graduate


"There is a clear link between managing your everyday expenses well during school and being in a good financial position when you graduate," says Christina Kramer, Executive Vice President, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. "While debt for tuition and books is a part of school for many students, it's important to avoid taking on additional debt by creating a realistic budget that factors in current needs as well as life after graduation."

Budgets keep spending - and debt - in check

As many as 37 per cent of post-secondary students aren't sure they will be able to manage their finances after they finish school, with 19 per cent not expecting to be able to support themselves financially.

The poll also finds that students, most of whom expect to spend $10,000 to $30,000 a year for schooling and personal expenses, anticipate far less help from their parents this year. They expect their parents will cover 22 per cent of tuition and school costs, down sharply from 33 per cent in a similar poll last year.

If students feel they don't have a good handle on the state of their finances, they should talk to their parents, a financial advisor, or both, Ms. Kramer says.

"Students should write down all sources of income as well as all expenses - from tuition and rent to buying lunch on the run and nights out with friends - to make sure they have funds allocated for all expenses, including the unexpected," says Ms. Kramer. "Having a clear picture of your expenses today, as well as what your debt payments will look like when the time comes to pay back your loan, will help you feel ready for the future."

Smart budgeting tips for post-secondary students

  • Build an education plan - Students, along with their parents, should consider the real costs of post-secondary education and build a savings plan that outlines how much the student will cover (including from loans, scholarships and bursaries, and part-time jobs) and how much the parents will contribute (including from registered education savings plans or other savings).
  • .

  • Create a budget - Having a financial plan in place for students before school starts can help make the most of your resources. Use the CIBC Student Budget Calculator to get a clear picture of all your expenses - include everything from tuition to entertainment - and how much you have to spend.
  • Track spending - Use the CIBC Mobile Banking App to see account transactions and balances in real time. Services such as CIBC CreditSmart® can also help students stick to their budget, by allowing them to set a budget limit on each spending category on their credit card, and be notified by phone, email or online message when they exceed their customized budget.
  • Student Banking Offer - CIBC offers a bank account for students with unlimited transactions and no monthly fees.  A CIBC student bank account makes student life simple and provides peace of mind that their everyday banking won't lead to unexpected charges.



Top financial concerns of Canadian post-secondary students today:

Finding a well-paying job upon graduation 37%
Having enough money for tuition and living expenses (27%) 48%
Being able to pay back my student debt and school-related debt (21%)
Finding/keeping part-time employment 5%
Having extra money for fun 4%
Other 6%


Canadian post-secondary students on whether they expect to be able to fully financially support themselves after graduation:

Yes 44%
No 19%
I don't know 37%


How Canadian post-secondary students say they cover their education costs on a percentage basis:

Myself, through jobs 34%
Parents/other family 22%
Scholarships, grants, bursaries 18%
Government loan 18%
Personal loan/Line of credit 4%
Other 4%


Amount that Canadian post-secondary students say they spend annually on student-related expenses (tuition, books, etc.) and personal expenses (rent, entertainment, etc.)

$5,000 or less 13%
Between $5,001 and $10,000 25%
Between $10,001 and $20,000 35%
Between $20,001 and $30,000 19%
More than $30,000 8%


Amount of debt that Canadian post-secondary students expect to owe when they complete their education:

$10,000 or less 46%
Between $10,001 and $25,000 17%
Between $25,001 and $50,000 21%
Between $50,001 and $75,000 9%
More than $75,000 6%


From July 27-29, 2015, an online survey was conducted among 992 randomly selected post-secondary students who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 3.11 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at



For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications, 416-784-6699 or