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Kids and parents disagree on cost of school

Post-secondary students grossly underestimate the cost of school, not to mention how much support they'll need from their parents, a new survey shows.

The online poll, conducted in July for CIBC, found that 67 per cent of parents were willing to pay for two-thirds of their children's post-secondary education while, on average, their kids believed their parents were footing only a third of the bill.

But in a twist — 41 per cent of students surveyed still thought their parents were paying too much. Those respondents said parents should only be covering a quarter of the cost or less.

On average, parents expected the entire cost of each child's post-secondary education would be $64,300.

"Part of the disconnect between parents and their children is likely that students aren't accounting for all of the costs beyond tuition," said Marybeth Jordan, head of CIBC's online brokerage.

Millennials aren't fully cognizant of the true cost of a degree or diploma, she said.

"The conversation between parents and students about the full costs of education, and how to pay for it, needs to start long before the first tuition payment is due."

"While it's clear from our polling that parents want to help pay for their children's post-secondary education, in most cases they are taking on the lion's share of a rapidly rising expense — and covering far more than their kids realize," she said.

Parents in Quebec and British Columbia were the most likely to pay for education, 74 and 70 per cent respectively, while only just 52 per cent of respondents in Atlantic Canada said they would.

The Leger survey involved 1,056 parents with children under 25 and 500 university and college students.

A separate poll of parents with children under age 18 found that almost half wished they had more support from family to help finance their children's schooling. The online poll conducted for BMO also found that fifty-two per cent wished people would contribute to their kids' education savings in lieu of gifts.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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