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-- But the 2011 TD Canada Trust Student Finances Survey finds 92% of students still manage to save despite debt load --


TORONTO, Aug. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - With rising tuition and youth unemployment worries, more than half of Canada's post-secondary students admit they are feeling the heat: 58% feel either anxious (34%) or stressed (24%) when they think about how they are going to pay their way through school. According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Student Finances Survey, 64% expect to graduate with debt hanging over their heads with one quarter anticipating they will owe more than $25,000.

Despite their concerns, nine-in-ten students say they are still managing to save some money (92%), with some of their top priorities being education savings (42%), debt repayment (34%) and a home down payment (31%).

"Earning a post-secondary qualification requires a big investment, and it's reassuring to see that so many students are taking their finances seriously, managing to save for the future or to pay down debt," says Michelle Snow, Group Manager, Student Banking, TD Canada Trust. "We know that managing finances on your own can be stressful or even intimidating, so we encourage students to come talk to us if they need help figuring out how to best manage their money."

Students overwhelmingly feel having a post-secondary qualification on their resume will help them stand from the crowd in today's job market (96%), and 49% of these students think it's vital. While 28% feel practical training at a trade school or college degree is sufficient to be competitive in today's workplace, 31% feel an undergraduate degree is necessary and 36% feel an undergraduate plus master's degree is necessary.

The challenge for many is the cost. The average cost of a four-year university degree is $80,000, and 81% of students say this feels like "a fortune". To alleviate some of their concerns, almost seven-in-ten students say they work during the school year (69% versus 55% in 2010). More than half (56%) work more than 11 hours a week to make ends meet.

What students spend their money on: getting around, eating out and technology

Outside of staple expenses, the top discretionary expenses students face are transportation costs, such as gas, car insurance and public transport (36%), eating out at restaurants (28%), and new technology like mobile phones and laptops (13%).

How students manage their expenses

A vast majority of students pay electronically for day to day expenses. Almost half (47%) say the most convenient way to pay for day to day expenses is using a credit card; while more than a third say debit (39%).

As they enter financial adulthood, students should take advantage of the financial benefits available to them. For instance, a student bank account, automatic savings program and student credit card are all important items in a student's financial toolkit, backed by a good understanding of how to make all these products work for them. This includes:

  • Using a debit card to help track expenses and ensure that students are staying on budget. Most student accounts allow for banking with no monthly fee. And by staying within the number of transactions their account allows, students can avoid over-limit fees.
  • There are also savings programs that automatically set aside money every time students make an ATM withdrawal or debit purchase. TD Simply Save is one of those.
  • A credit card can be a useful way for students to keep track of expenses, manage cash flow and build a credit rating. But it's important that students understand how credit works and to use a credit card for emergencies or for expenses they can pay off when the bill comes due. Cards designed specifically for students can help save money by offering valuable benefits, such as no annual fee, travel rewards or cash back.

Students want help

Two-thirds (64%) of students say they are interested in receiving professional advice on how to budget, save and reduce their debt.

"There are plenty of financial tools, resources and advice available to students who are looking for advice, whether online, at your bank or through a knowledgeable and experienced family member," says Snow. "Financial literacy is a life skill and critical to your future so make sure you educate yourself or reach out to someone who can help."

For more information on student personal finance and budgeting, please visit a TD Canada Trust branch near you or

About the 2011 TD Canada Trust Student Finances Survey

The 2011 TD Canada Trust Student Finances Survey polled a representative sample of 1,000 Canadian adults aged 18-24 who are currently enrolled or were previously enrolled in the past two years in post-secondary education. Interviews were conducted by telephone between June 28 and July 7, 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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