A Generational Divide: New research shows parents and young adults differ on the importance of affordability when it comes to choosing a university or college.

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

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - 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 post-secondary education path for their children. This is one conclusion found by a new 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.

"For parents, affordability is certainly top of mind given that many of today's students rely on their families for support through post-secondary education, and even after," said George Hopkinson, president and CEO at Knowledge First Financial. "One way that parents can ease the burden of post-secondary education costs is by starting an RESP for their children as early as possible."

"We understand that parents want the best for their children, whether it is quality teachers, a top-notch program, or financial stability upon graduation," continued Hopkinson. "A registered education savings plan gives students and parents that extra boost to make these opportunities a reality."

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.

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 post-secondary education is worth the investment, citing it as a requirement for today's job market.

Knowledge First Financial

Knowledge First Financial offers plans that will fit into your family budget today and help fulfill your child's education needs tomorrow, whatever the path they choose. Knowledge First Financial Inc. is a wholly subsidiary of Knowledge First Foundation and is the Investment Fund Manager, administrator and distributor of education savings plans offered by Knowledge First Foundation. Since 1965, Knowledge First Financial has paid out $2.8 billion, and continues to manage almost half a million education savings plans for Canadians.

Image with caption: "A Generational Divide: New research shows young adults and parents differ in priorities when choosing a dream school (CNW Group/Knowledge First Financial)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131007_C7777_PHOTO_EN_31763.jpg

SOURCE: Knowledge First Financial

For further information:

Suzanne Martyn Jones
Vice-president, Marketing
Knowledge First Financial Inc.
Tel: 1-800-701-7001, ext. 4247
smartyjones@kffinancial.ca

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