The video repeated the common claim that average student debt was about $23,000. I've always been puzzled by this claim since most of my friends were able to help their children get a university education just as our parents helped us. Most of our children were able to graduate from university (undergraduate degree) with no debt.
If about half the graduating class got help from their parents, as we did, then the average debt of those students with debt must be about $46,000 and that's unreasonable.
There must be something wrong somewhere. I Googled "student debt, Canada" to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Most of the articles were like this one: Student debt, dismal job prospects threaten Canada’s economy. The author, Brenda Bouw, says,
The average Canadian student graduates after four years in university with about $27,000 of debt, according to data from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). It also says the average student needs about 10 years to pay it off.The link to the Canadian Federation of Students doesn't work but I was able to find another: Student Debt. It wasn't very clear but it did say, "For more than a decade, students studying in Ontario and the Maritimes have had the highest average debt loads, averaging more than $28,000."
That certainly implies that the average student graduates with $28,000 of debt. It doesn't say whether this includes post-graduate education.
I also found this interesting article on the CBC News website: Average student debt difficult to pay off, delays life milestones. It says, ...
Average Canadian student debt estimates hover in the mid- to high-$20,000 range. The Canadian Federation of Students pegs it at $27,000, which is close to the nearly $26,300 many students said they expected to owe after graduation in a recent BMO survey.That's what I suspected. When they say that the average student graduates with a debt of $27,000, what they mean is that the average student with student debt has a debt of $27,000. That's not the same thing.
Simon Fraser University's annual survey of more than 15,000 graduating students found debt-saddled students reported an average of about $24,600 in 2012. When debt-free graduates were added to the equation, the average dropped to about $14,500.
I also found a link to this table from Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
It seems to confirm my suspicion that "the debt of an average student" actually means "the average debt of students with loans." Using the AUCC figures, about 60% of Canadian college and university students spend more on their education than what they get from their parents, scholarships, savings, and part-time jobs. The average debt is about $25,000. I don't know what the median value is and I don't know if this is only debt from undergraduate studies.
I also don't know the total cost of university or college in Canada. I suspect it's about $10,000 per year for students living at home and commuting to school and about $15,000 per year for students who go away to school. Does anyone know the real costs?
I think tuition at public universities and colleges should be free and I think parents of the baby-boomer generation have an obligation to help their children get an education. I think that students should not have significant debt when they graduate but I hate it when people don't give me the correct data and information. It destroys their credibility. I tend not to listen to someone when I perceive that they are not thinking critically.
Just tell me that 60% of students graduate with debt and the average debt is about $25,000 and I'll start listening to the rest of your argument.