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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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IS A POST SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION WORTH IT?

The reality is that young people in Canada are in fact going to universities/colleges in greater proportions and are living off their parents longer then ever. The Banks of Montreal/Commerce have been replaced by the "Bank of Mom and Dad"

Canadaís National Household Survey revealed that 68% of young people age 25 to 29 held a post secondary degree or diploma (including trade school certificates in 2011 while this proportion was just 43% in 1981.

And in 2011 25% of young people age 25-29 still lived with their parents with just 11% in 1981 according to the census published by Statistics Canada. The stats show that the average age of a young man who leaves his parentís home taking his bed with him is now age 27.

So, it should not be surprising that young people are starting their careers later then ever with large student debt load. The Ontario Student Aid Program, loans have to start being repaid to the banks six months after leaving school.

In 1998 the average age of leaving school was 25; in 2012, the age was 31. That is, young people now are starting their careers a full six years later to-day because they are going to school for longer periods of time to try to educate and find themselves.

This raises the question: Is all of the education worth the time and money? And if so, what types of education result in the best outcomes for young people today?

There has been lots of research on the topic of post secondary education and the earnings of the graduates. The researchers have been trying to figure out the link between levels of education and the financial success afterwards, The most recent study was published by the "Canadian Journal of Higher Education" in 2012.

The study came to the conclusion that the level of schooling (trades, community college and university) and field of study (business, sciences, engineering, computer sciences, health and liberal arts) are key drivers of the labour market outcomes - they have a huge impact on how well students fare financially after graduation.

The results - the students who graduated with technical skills did a whole better then the liberal arts students. To be more specific, the grads of engineering and computer sciences reported the highest earnings two years after graduating followed closely by those from the health and business related programs.

Here are the facts : Graduates with advanced university degrees reported the highest earnings two years after graduating (median salary of $59,000 for males and $52,000 for females followed by undergraduates, $47,000 for males and $43,000 for females and then followed by community college grads $37,000 for males and $33,000 for females Males who had trade school certification had higher earnings of $39,000 - all dollars earned two years after graduating.

The median earnings per year in each field of study were as follows: Liberal Arts grads $38,000, sciences $39,000, business $45,000, engineering and computer science & health sciences $52,000.

Community College grads with diplomas after only three years of college in computer sciences and engineering earned $38,000 .

We have to take into account the income lost by spending countless years in school. Tuition/room and board and other expenses to attend an out of town university is not cheap costing approximately $60,000 over a four year period paid by part time work and the balance by the parents and OSAP.

The question: if your son or daughter is attending post secondary school, is the amount of money they (you) pay and the debt they (you) are willing to take on be driven by your childrenís potential earnings after they graduate?

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com