We can certainly be proud of the ambitions of our little ones in Quebec! A CROP firm survey carried out for the RESP experts at Universitas revealed that nearly half the children in Quebec (44%) dream of a career which will require a university degree. The survey found the most popular fields of interest were healthcare and social services (19%), liberal professions (13%), followed by science and technology (11%)
A Tall Order for Parents… and an Underestimated One
So what do these big dreams mean for parents? Let’s look at some quick facts. In Quebec, the current cost to complete a two-year CEGEP program and a three-year university program is estimated at $37,000, and that number excludes housing! Now here’s where the survey results raise a red flag: 79% of those surveyed underestimated this cost by a long run, believing the expenses of a higher education to be less than $30,000.
This leads us to a simple yet essential question: Are parents saving enough to support the ambitions of their children?
While most parents reported encouraging their children to pursue post-secondary studies, when asked about the measures they were taking to save for this education, 31% admitted they had no savings at all and only 36% had opened an RESP. What’s more, 12% simply said they don’t believe they will have the means to pay for their children’s post-secondary education.
The RESP: A Powerful, Yet Underused Tool
Although tuition fees have made headlines across the province regularly in recent years, the latest CESP statistical report still place Quebec among the Canadian provinces with the lowest rate of RESP contributions.
The fact that the RESP is still a little-known savings tool certainly isn’t helping. Furthermore, another CROP survey commissioned by Universitas found that 67% of respondents were unaware that in the province of Quebec, both levels of government offer RESP grants totalling up to $12,800 per child!
With this kind of financial help within reach, children can dream big. Our society has given itself the tools to offer our next generation education, opportunity and choice. The stakes are high, as Quebec may see itself forego a considerable number of future graduates if the popularity of education savings and RESPs doesn’t increase in the coming years.
Article by: Sarah DeMelt
Source: Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés du Québec, Statistics Canada and CMHC.