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Special Reports


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

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

TORONTO, August 16, 2010 — 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 new found 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.

- 30 -

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


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08/16/2010 08:42:58