By the Numbers: Student Debt in Canada

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Education should be a human right, not a debt sentence

Toronto – April13, 2013 – Between 1990 and 2010, average tuition fees for post-secondary education in Canada increased four-fold from $1,271 to $5,139.

By the end of September 2010, student debt exceeded nearly $15 billion and growing - higher than the debt of some provinces.

The total cost of a post-secondary education - including tuition, school supplies, housing, and other expenses - is roughly $14,500 a year, or close to $60,000 for a four-year program. (Statistics Canada)

Average undergraduate tuition in Canada is $5,366. (Statistics Canada)

More than 60 percent of current post-secondary students will graduate with student debt.

A recent poll showed that 58 percent of post-secondary students who borrow to pay for their education expect to graduate with nearly $20,000 in debt while 21 per cent expect to owe more than $40,000.

The Canadian Federation of Students estimates that average student debt is almost $28,000. According to the Canada Student Loan Program, most students take 10 years to pay off their loans.

Students studying in the Maritimes have the highest average debt loads while those studying in Quebec have the lowest.

Student Debt by Province in 2011 dollars:

Alberta: $25,698

British Columbia: $29,497

Manitoba: $21,564

New Brunswick: $34,413

Newfoundland and Labrador: $35,703

Nova Scotia: $35,642

Ontario: $26,480

Prince Edward Island: $32,960

Quebec: $15,195

Saskatchewan: $31,061