Stressed university students say working part time affects grades: RBC poll

RBC. (CNW Group/RBC)

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Three-quarters of students don't use a budget and 60 per cent expect to graduate with debt

TORONTO, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - The majority of post-secondary students (57 per cent) say they plan to work during the school year in order to help pay the bills, according to an RBC/Ipsos Reid poll. Three-quarters of students (77 per cent) believe working part-time during school will impact their grades, while six-in-10 expect to graduate with debt and 74 per cent don't use a budget.

"The student experience brings newfound responsibilities like keeping good grades, living on your own and balancing a budget which can be very stressful," said Kavita Joshi, Director, Student Banking, RBC. "Proper saving habits can lead to working fewer hours, thereby freeing up more time for studying and enjoying the university or college experience."

The survey found that debt management and budgeting are challenging for students, with just half regularly monitoring where their money is going (52 per cent).

Some key survey findings include:

-   Debt-free - Students who believe they will graduate debt-free are
        more likely to rely on their parents (46 per cent) for financial
        assistance.
    -   Every penny counts - Half of students (51 per cent) say they will
        look for a job or work more if money is tight. Over one-third (37 per
        cent) feel that having a job wouldn't be enough and that they would
        also have to cut back on expenses. Dining out (54 per cent), shopping
        (48 per cent) and entertainment (45 per cent) are expenses most
        likely to be cut.
    -   Worrying about money - Two-thirds of students (66 per cent) feel that
        worrying about money will have an impact on their grades.
    -   Financial sources - Students who say they will work during school
        plan to rely on their summer savings (49 per cent), scholarships and
        bursaries (40 per cent) and the bank of mom and dad (39 per cent) to
        support themselves.
    -   Relying on parents - Students who do not plan to work part-time are
        more likely to rely on their parents (44 per cent) for financial
        support.
    -   Working more - 59 per cent of students who are already planning to
        work would consider looking for more hours or another job if money
        was tight.

"Managing your budget can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to it," added Joshi. "Online financial management tools make it easier to track where your money is going and how much you are spending, leaving enough money in your budget to enjoy the student social life."

Joshi offers three key tips to help students stretch their dollars:

1)  Prepare a budget and manage your finances - a budget will help you
        live within your means and avoid unnecessary debt. myFinanceTracker
        is a new online customizable financial management tool that will help
        keep tabs on your monthly spending so you know exactly where your
        money is going and how to budget properly. RBC online banking clients
        can find access to myFinanceTracker at
        www.rbcroyalbank.com/myfinancetracker/.
    2)  Take control - identify all of your expenses and assess how much
        you're actually spending. Knowing where your money goes makes it
        easier for students to make sound financial decisions. Tools such as
        RBC's Better Student Life website (about money management) and
        Student Budget Check (calculates the money you need to get through
        the school year, based on your spending) can help with managing your
        money (www.betterstudentlife.ca).
    3)  Know your financial options - explore all financial options available
        including bursaries, student bank loans and scholarships. RBC awards
        over $300,000 in scholarships each year. To learn more about the RBC
        scholarships, visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/scholarships/.

The RBC Student Finances Study was conducted by Ipsos Reid between June 24 and June 29, 2010. This online survey of 531 Canadian post-secondary students, under the age of 25, who are either returning to post-secondary school (376) or intending to start at post-secondary school (155) in September 2010, was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. No weighting of the final sample was done as we assume that the respondents are a random sample of Canadian students. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-4.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error within sub-groups will be larger.

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For further information: Media contacts: Jill Quinn, RBC, (416) 313-8121; Kate Yurincich, RBC, (416) 974-1031