It costs how much? (Editorial)

By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/04/2002

Should Canada give every student who qualifies the opportunity to attend university? Can the knowledge economy flourish without affordable post-secondary education?

For employers, and HR departments tasked with supplying talent, the cost of an education should be a concern. That cost may soon prevent a generation of children from low- and middle-income families from attending university.

An economic paper released last month by the TD bank Financial Group puts future university costs for a child born today at $125,000. This represents four years’ tuition, living expenses and inflation for a student attending school away from home. (The cost drops by 40 per cent for Canadians who can stay at home while pursuing higher education.) In more concrete terms, parents of children born today will have to save $200 to $300 every month for 18 years if a child is to attend school — something that is beyond the budgets of most Canadians. Anyone hoping to send more than one child to university may never be able to afford to do so.