Do you have $140,000?
I don't, either. But according to a new report from the Bank of Montreal's Wealth Institute, if you have a child born this year, that's how much it will cost to send her to university for an undergraduate degree.
While the report includes some very helpful reminders — that the sooner you start saving, the more compound interest will add to your hard-earned dollars; that the federal government's Canada Education Savings Grant tops up your RESP savings by up to 20%; and that paying back student loans can take a long time — I also see it as a bit of a guilt trip. What parent would be heartless enough not to have socked away enough money to spare her child the drudgery of paying off a student loan? What parent wouldn't give her child the option of going to university anywhere in the world she was accepted?
When I was growing up as one of four siblings, all of whom were honour-role students, no one assumed university was covered by the Bank of Dad. We all knew we'd have to work summer jobs to cover tuition. If we wanted to go to university outside of Toronto, we'd have to figure that out (i.e. earn a scholarship or get a loan). Dad covered transit fare and kicked in the cost of books. Otherwise, we were on their own.
Sound cold? I don't think so. Because we had to work our way through school, my siblings and I appreciated being there. And we were certainly less likely to flake out, as that would have meant working to pay for additional years of undergrad angst. Sure, I might have enjoyed taking journalism at NYU, or at Carleton, where I was offered a partial scholarship; but I got a good education and made great contacts at Ryerson, plus saved a whack of money because I was able to live at home and commute to school daily.
Before you freak out over that $140K estimate, here are some doable steps you can take to ease the pain of post-secondary education costs:
How does your family currently handle post-secondary education tuition costs?