Post Secondary Primer

Wed, 2017-07-05

2017 will see a new class of wide-eyed students embarking on a post-secondary education.  For the savvy parent this was years in the planning saving money in RESPs and discussing and evaluating alternatives with counsellors long in advance.

Some will opt for the increasing options for trades and apprenticeships and partnerships with industry. For others, a much longer and more expensive path.

Grants, bursaries and academic scholarships help but most rely heavily on family, summer work and loans.  Whatever your source, never forget that you are only a customer and that your real objective is what will this ultimately provide and how much will it cost.

On cost, the publicly subsidized educational institutions seem very reasonable as do the books and supplies.  Living costs form the largest portion of outlay making options like staying at home and transfer opportunities from North Island College shine.

The bad news is that recent post-secondary graduates have little working time to gain a nest egg and wages for entry level jobs have lost pace with living costs.   The good news is that you probably haven't been keeping track of the money you've been contributing to all their sports, hobbies and pursuits which at minimum will be curtailed.

There is no one size fits all formula for how to best fund an education.  Our particular bias was that the student needed enough "skin in the game" to cover books and tuition and avoiding student loans in the early years was prudent.  After all, it's not their fault that we choose to live in the most beautiful region on the island, with a great college but no university.