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- Despite early start, Albertan parents still expect kids to pitch in to pay for post-secondary education -

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CALGARY, July 19, 2011 /CNW/ - Nine-in-ten Albertan parents may start saving for their children's post-secondary education shortly after they're born, but this province's students shouldn't expect a free ride.

According to the TD Canada Trust 2011 Education and Finances Survey, Albertan parents with children under 18 are the most likely in the country to expect their children to work to pay for their post-secondary education (46% versus 31% nationally), secure a scholarship (44% versus 26% nationally) and get a student loan (39% versus 25% nationally).

"Next to saving for retirement, one of the biggest financial challenges the majority of Canadians will face is saving for their children's education," says Doug Semler, District Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "For university and college students living away from home, the cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree is approximately $80,000, so it's no surprise parents are expecting their kids to help contribute to the cost."

One third of Albertan parents who have children that they expect to attend post-secondary education in the future have not started saving for it. As a result, only 8% of parents plan to pay for the entire amount.

"If your child is heading to university or college this fall and you haven't managed to save enough money, there are financing options available to your child such as government loans, scholarships, bursaries and grants. To assist with any financial shortfall, they may also qualify for a student line of credit from their bank. This is a smart way to ensure students have access to money for things like books, tuition and rent - at a lower interest rate and longer repayment term than a loan or credit cards," says Semler.

Baby's college funds grow in popularity

Along with Albertans, it's the newest Canadian parents who take home top marks when it comes to saving early for their children's education.

Nationally, seven-in-ten parents who have children eligible in 16+ years to attend post-secondary education (71%) have already started saving, compared with 55% of parents whose children are eligible now, 57% who will be eligible in 1-5 years, and 60% who will be eligible in 6-10 years. Nine-in-ten (89%) parents under age 35 started saving for their child's education shortly after their birth, compared with only 60% of parents currently aged 45-54 and 80% of parents aged 35-44.

"It's great to see new parents starting to save earlier for their children's education. Even if you don't have a lot of money to save, be diligent about putting away a little bit with each pay cheque into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and take advantage of tax deferred growth," says Semler. "And if you haven't managed to save enough when your child is ready for post-secondary study, there are flexible and cost effective options that can help fill the gap, like a student line of credit."

The number of Albertan parents putting money aside to invest for post-secondary education has increased since last year. The majority are planning to finance their children's post-secondary education with an RESP (64% versus 59% in 2010) and more than one-third plan on using a savings account or other investment products (36% same as last year). Only 10% plan on using a student line of credit.

Saving is a team effort

When it comes to saving for their post-secondary education, parents - especially those in Alberta - are counting on their kids to chip in. Three-quarters of Albertan parents said that they feel good about helping their kids out, but they think it is important for their child to help contribute towards the cost of their education.

Only 8% of Albertan parents plan to fund 100% of their children's post-secondary education. The majority plan to pay for the essentials like tuition, books and rent but expect their child to pay all other expenses (44%), or plan to pay for most of their children's expenses but expect them to contribute some of their earnings from activities like summer jobs (41%).

"Opening a student line of credit gets your child involved in contributing to the cost of their education, and it's a good first step to help them establish financial responsibility and build a credit history," says Semler.

For more information and advice on how to pay for school and manage student finances, please visit

About the TD Canada Trust 2011 Education and Finances Survey

The TD Canada Trust 2011 Education and Finances Survey polled a representative sample of 640 Canadian parents of children aged less than 18 years, including 61 in Alberta, through a custom, online survey. The survey was conducted by Environics Research between June 10-20, 2011.

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

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