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Making the right post-secondary education choices

It’s almost time for your child to head off to college or university. But how do you make sure they will make the right financial and educational choices?

Do your research

  • Research education programs and schools, and consider a trip to the school.
    • Be sure your child is comfortable with their choice.
  • Grants, scholarships and bursaries can help you pay for your child’s education
    • Investments held in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) work well and may qualify for the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond*.

Reduce education costs

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Use credit cards responsibly, if at all.
  • Ensure you don’t pay needless fees. For example, universities often charge for a student medical plan but your child may be able to opt out of the school’s coverage if covered by a parent’s plan.
  • Buy used textbooks and sell them when the semester ends.
  • Take advantage of free or inexpensive programs such as the school gym or clubs and sporting events.
  • If your child agrees, select a school near home. Living and travel expenses will be significantly less than if your student lives away from home – and you will be there to provide moral support.

Ask questions
To help your child make the decision about whether to choose a school nearby or move away for school, ask them for honest answers questions like these:

  • Do you feel comfortable looking after yourself – including doing laundry and grocery shopping?
  • Will you become homesick?
  • How often will you want to come home and what will it cost?
  • Do you have the discipline to resist getting overly involved in social life?
  • Will your new independence enhance your personal growth?
  • Is there a program offered away from home that you cannot get here?
  • Would it be better to obtain you first degree/diploma where you can be sure of support, and your second degree/diploma away?

Make the right educational – and financial – choices for you and your child with the assistance of your professional advisor.

*The Canada Education Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond (CLB) are provided by the Government of Canada. CLB eligibility depends on family income levels. Some provinces make education savings grants available to their residents.

Date reviewed: May 1, 2015

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments.