parents helping teenage son pack for college

Costs for post-secondary education are taking a toll on parents’ finances.

A survey conducted for FP Canada found that 67% of Canadians with children over age 18 have helped their children with post-secondary costs, and doing so prevented one in five parents from paying off debt (20%) and forced 16% to postpone retirement.

Looking ahead, the challenges of post-secondary education costs could affect more Canadians to a greater extent.

The survey found that 82% of Canadians with children under 18 intend to assist their children with post-secondary costs, and nearly half (48%) expect providing this support will cause them to delay retirement — an increase from 41% in FP Canada’s 2017 survey.

Similarly, many respondents (42%) said they expect education costs will prevent them from paying off debt, up from 40% in 2017.

Education costs could be exacerbated at tax time: only one-third of respondents said they’re familiar with tax credits, grants and other financial assistance programs associated with post-secondary costs.

Students are also challenge by education costs, with almost one-third of parents (31%) saying their children graduated or will graduate from college or university with more than $10,000 in student debt.

For those students, the debt results in postponed life milestones. One in five Canadians with adult children (19%) say student debt has caused their children to postpone buying a home; 10%, to postpone moving out.

Adult children in Atlantic Canada are most likely to have postponed buying a home (25%), and those in Ontario are most likely to have postponed flying the coop (15%).

Canadians with children under 18 forecast that student debt will have an even bigger impact going forward: more than half say they expect student debt will force their kids to postpone buying a home (51%), and four in 10 say they expect their kids to postpone moving out.

For more details, read the student debt survey.

The online survey of 1,557 Canadians was completed April 26-29, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error is +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.