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Parents and College/University Students Need to Talk Money

A recent study by RBC has shown that parents know less about their child’s spending during university or college than they may think. While 90 per cent of parents say they know roughly how much debt their child has, only 78 per cent of students agree. More than half of students (55 per cent) say they’ve sometimes hidden how much they spend from their parents, but only about one-third (33 per cent) of parents believe their child has sometimes hidden how they are spending. A majority of students (76 per cent) say they are confident in their ability to manage their finances, but many students (87 per cent) believe they still have a lot to learn. And while 89 per cent of parents believe they’ve been a good financial role model, fewer students (80 per cent) believe that to be true. RBS says there needs to be an open discussion about where the money to fund that education is coming from, who’s responsible for how much, and when. Once the foundation is set, parents and students need to continue the dialogue. Some tips for students can be found at our website


Here are some tips for students as they prepare for “the talk” this fall:

1.   Make a budget, and revisit it often: Preparing a budget is the best way to stay in good financial shape when you are away at school. There are a number of online tracking tools that are available, including RBC’s myFinanceTracker, which automatically keeps track of your spending so you can easily see if you’re sticking to your budget.

2.   Do your research: Check online sources to see if you qualify for free money that you don’t have to pay back; like scholarships, bursaries, or grants. A bit of research could save you thousands of dollars.

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3.   Only borrow what you have to: Your budget will include all the money that you have for education, like savings, RESPs and scholarships. Compare that to the total cost of school, both hard and discretionary costs, and only borrow what you need to fill in the gap.

4.   Take advantage of your student status: Ask for student discounts anywhere you go: hair salon, retailers and most restaurants around campus. Do you need your own car or can you take advantage of public transit? Can you rent your textbooks or buy used from your campus bookstore? Can you change your mobile plan to ensure you’re only paying for what you need?

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