Although many Canadian parents are helping to finance their child’s post-secondary education, a considerable percentage lament not saving more money, according to a study commissioned by Vancouver-based HSBC Bank Canada.

The global report, entitled The Value of Education: Higher and Higher, demonstrates that 76% of Canadian parents with at least one child 23 years of age and younger in university or college are funding at least part of their child’s tuition. The global average of parents who contribute to post-secondary tuition is 87%.

In addition, 30% Canadian parents wish they had started saving for their child’s education sooner and 30% of parents also regret not putting more into savings, the report says.

That said, 70% of parents started to think about their child’s education before the child had started primary education and 61% had already made funding decisions by then.

“The good news is that Canadians take a proactive approach to financing their child’s education,” says Larry Tomei, executive vice president and head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Bank Canada. “Taking advantage of registered education savings programs, or scholarships and bursaries is key; however, there is still opportunity to do even more.”

Canadian parents performed well globally: they ranked second, after China, in taking advantage of education savings program or investments plans. But only about 35% of Canadian parents are doing so.

Instead, 61% of parents are paying for their child’s education using day-to-day income, the report says.

Many parents are also making sacrifices to fund post-secondary education by spending less on leisure activities (28%), putting less money into retirement savings (23%) and contributing less toward long-term savings or investments (22%).

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