As we head into the summer, we know that September will be here before we know it. And with that, many high school graduates will be heading off to post-secondary, and many parents and caregivers will be supporting them financially.

To no surprise, the cost of post-secondary education in Canada continues to rise.

The increasing cost over time 

The cost of post-secondary education in Canada has been outpacing inflation, and its important to be aware of this trend. Over the past two decades, tuition fees have increased significantly, and this upward trajectory is expected to continue. According to recent estimates, the average tuition fees for undergraduate programs in Canada could reach $20,000 to $30,000 per year by the time today's newborns are ready to enter post-secondary education. (Source: Understanding the costs and approaches of paying for an education)

There are options to help you save 

OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)

OSAP provides financial assistance, including loans and grants, to eligible students in Ontario.


Scholarships can be obtained from various sources such as universities, colleges, government organizations, and private institutions. They provide financial support without the need for repayment.

RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans)

RESPs are investment accounts specifically designed to save for a childs post-secondary education. Contributions to an RESP grow tax-free, and the government matches up to 20% of contributions (to a maximum of $500 per year). There are also additional top-up payments from the government like the Canada Learning Bond, depending on household income.

An example showing the power of RESPs 

Suppose youre saving exactly $2500 per year ($208.34 per month) to maximize the $500 grant from the government and invest that money with a PenFinancial investment specialist. At a 7% annual return, youll end up with $102,920.31 when your child turns 18 years old which almost exactly matches the estimates provided by the Globe and Mail sourced above. Of course, this is just in theory, however, it demonstrates that realistically, saving just $208.34 per month should effectively fund an entire 4-year degree for your child if you start early.

Let’s Chat

As always, come chat with us to find out if an RESP is right for you. As education costs continue to rise, its never a bad time to start.


Speak with a PenFinancial advisor today to find out what options are right for you.

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Note: Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Aviso Wealth, a division of Aviso Financial Inc.. Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing. Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Aviso Wealth. Qtrade Direct Investing, Qtrade Guided Portfolios and Aviso Wealth are divisions of Aviso Financial Inc.

Catherine Palmer

Written by Catherine Palmer

Catherine is a Financial Solutions Specialist at our Niagara Falls branch and lives a stone's throw away! She loves to volunteer in the community and supports a number of local organizations. Catherine enjoys walking through the trails of Dufferin Islands, hiking the Niagara Gorge and practicing yoga on the lawns of Fireman’s Park.