Two thirds of Canadian graduates under 40 say they graduated with debt, owing an average of $22,000, a study by BDO Canada Limited has found. The majority of indebted grads (62 per cent) say they are still paying off their student debt and that they will need another five years, on average, to clear it.
"We were surprised to see so many Canadians carrying student debt well into their 30s," says Doug Jones, president of BDO Canada Limited. "We've seen that student debt can delay some of life's milestones, like getting married, buying a home or saving for retirement, and with interest rates rising again, those student debts could take even longer to pay off."
Using Repayment Assistance Plans
Nearly one quarter of respondents said they have a job outside their desired field to help pay off their debt, and 19 per cent have taken on another job in addition to full-time work. Twenty per cent have used a Repayment Assistance Plan from the government.
The indebted graduates said they regretted not having kept a budget while they were in school and not working more. They also said they regret taking on other forms of debt, like a car loan or a credit card, while they were in school.
Graduates listed recommendations for future and current post-secondary students. They said students should start looking for part-time or summer jobs while still in high school. Thirty-nine per cent even recommended taking a year or two off school to save for their postsecondary educations.