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- Despite their intentions, many Atlantic Canadian parents struggle to cover the costs of post-secondary education -

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TORONTO, July 19, 2011 /CNW/ - Saving for their kids' post-secondary education is the most important financial goal for parents in Atlantic Canada - even more important than saving for their own retirement.

Still, Atlantic Canadian students will have to secure alternative ways of funding their post-secondary education outside of their parents' pay cheques. According to the TD Canada Trust 2011 Education and Finances Survey, parents in Atlantic Canada are the most likely to in the country to have not started saving for their children's education (45% versus 37% 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 Shahz Beig, Associate Vice President, Personal Lending, 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 struggling to make ends meet."

The survey found that half of parents in Atlantic Canada plan to pay for most of their children's expenses but expect their children to contribute some of their earnings from activities like summer jobs (50%), while 35% plan to pay for the essentials like tuition, books and rent but expect their children to pay all the other expenses. Only 7% of parents in the region plan to cover the entire cost.

"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 Beig.

Baby's college funds grow in popularity

Interestingly, 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 Beig. "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."

In Atlantic Canada, the majority of parents with children under age 18 are planning to finance their children's post-secondary education with an RESP (59% up from 50% in 2010). Twenty-seven percent plan on using a savings account or other investment products.

Saving is a team effort

When it comes to saving for their post-secondary education, parents in Atlantic Canada are counting on their kids to chip in. Thirty-five percent expect their child to get a student loan, 33% expect their child to work to pay their expenses, and 24% expect their child to get a scholarship. Parents in Atlantic Canada are the most likely in the country to expect their child to take out a student line of credit (19% versus 10% nationally).

"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 Beig.

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 60 in Atlantic Canada, 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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