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Student debt: Why you face it and how to avoid it

by Archives September 25, 2007

While tuition fees in Quebec remain the lowest in the country, having been frozen since 1994, a recent survey by the BMO (Bank of Montreal) suggests about half of students attending post-secondary education in the province expect to graduate with upwards of $5,000 in debt.
The study, which surveyed 1,000 students aged 18 to 24 across the country, demonstrates that only 24 per cent of those attending, or planning to attend, post-secondary education estimate they can graduate debt free.
Most students who expect to owe money upon leaving university will take an average of five years to settle their debt, either by entering the work force, or by putting off the purchase of their first home.
“Most students don’t budget and do not resort to any means of financial planning,” said Ronald Monet, director of communications at the Montreal branch of BMO.
The survey indicates that 62 per cent of the students polled claimed not to have a budget at all, and 46 per cent of them admitted to having run out of funds over the course of the last year.
Students find themselves in debt for a variety of reasons. Most do not seek legitimate financial advice and claim not to have the adequate resources to budget effectively.
However, these resources are readily available. Financial institutions offer professional financial planning with profiles specifically designed for the needs of a student.
Furthermore, universities have on-campus financial planners and advisors that are accessible for free.
According to the survey, most students simply underestimate the amplitude of daily expenses.
Food, housing, entertainment, and public transportation can incur considerable weight on a student’s budget.
“If you’re not ready expecting such costs, it can be really easy to find yourself in rapid debt,” explains Monet.
Of course, student loans also come into play when factoring student debt. This is especially true of those not benefiting from parental financial aid or bursaries.
“Tuition here hasn’t increased in years, but I think that students wind up in debt because of everything that surrounds the cost to go to school.
Most of the money I owe right now, I owe to credit card companies,” says Maxime Monast, a Universit

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