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Majority of Canadian parents can’t estimate tuition costs: poll

A new CIBC poll suggests four out of five parents aren't able to accurately estimate university tuition fees, with many also not understanding how RESPs work. Brent McGillivray / Global News

TORONTO – A new CIBC poll suggests four out of five parents aren’t able to accurately estimate university tuition fees, with many also not understanding how RESPs work.

The survey found that only 20 per cent of parents correctly gauged the cost of post-secondary education tuition at between $6,000 to $9,999.

READ MORE: Students in Ontario pay highest average tuition fees in Canada

On average, tuition for an undergraduate degree costs $6,191, according to the most recent data from Statistics Canada.

Moreover, 37 per cent of parents said they had no idea how much to budget for non-tuition expenses, such as books, supplies, groceries and accommodation.

READ MORE: Here’s where you’ll pay the lowest (and highest) tuition in Canada

Kathleen Woodard, senior vice-president of retail and business banking at CIBC, says parents looking to send their child to college or university for four years should count on a total cost of at least $100,000, or $25,000 per year.

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The poll did find that 76 per cent of parents saving for their child’s post-secondary education had set up a Registered Education Savings Plan account, but many of them lacked basic knowledge about how RESPs actually work.

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