Thirty-four per cent of parents place affordability at the top of the list, while students focus on the quality of school programs including program offerings.
Affordability is a top decision maker for 34 per cent of parents surveyed, in contrast to only 13 per cent of students, when it comes to choosing a postsecondary education path for their children. This is one conclusion found by a study commissioned by Knowledge First Financial and conducted by Ipsos Reid of Canadian high school/post-secondary school students and parents. Forty-three per cent of students disagree with parents, placing high emphasis on a program’s ability to fit their academic interests.
The generational divide is also evident when it comes to environment. Students say campus experience is one of their top three reasons for choosing their dream school, whereas parents rank campus experience as the least important.
Out of six possible choices, a large majority of parents opted for affordability, best programs (29 per cent) and quality teaching staff (17 per cent), over other choices like campus experience and extracurricular offerings – suggesting that top value for dollar is significant.
Post-graduate student in University of Toronto’s Aerospace Studies program, Christopher Lee agrees. “The best programs can really set you apart from the norm: the core program content and teaching staff helps prepare students for the workforce and hopefully gives them an edge above other new grads once they start their careers. There’s also a sense of pride in studying alongside top students, not to mention a certain competitiveness that pushes one to excel.” Lee also explained that a top program provides a better opportunity to connect with a solid alumni network, which can help to develop a graduate’s career and maybe even result in landing ones first job. Christopher Lee
According to the survey, 53 per cent of high school students, 56 per cent of post-secondary students and 60 per cent of parents agree that the key benefit to having personal savings or an RESP is that the added funds allow them to study full-time, instead of part-time.
Even with cost as a concern, a large majority of parents and students alike agree that postsecondary education is worth the investment, citing it as a requirement for today’s job market.
This research was commissioned by Knowledge First Financial and conducted by Ipsos Reid in October 2013.