Investor Education Fund Launches University Cost and Debt Calculator

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New money tool helps students across the country to manage tuition costs and expenses

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This tool gives students and parents a high-level understanding of what the total student debt level might be and offers suggestions on how to pay it back - before it becomes an issue. Confronting debt is the first step to putting plans in place to address it.

An innovative online tool designed to help students estimate the cost and payment options for post-secondary education has been launched by the Investor Education Fund. The new University Cost and Debt Calculator approximates the annual total tuition costs for universities across Canada and helps students plan for the long-term implications of debt.

"Tuition fees are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full cost of higher education," says Tom Hamza, president of Investor Education Fund. "The University Cost and Debt Calculator helps students and parents better understand the financial commitment and resources needed to cover those costs, and start to develop a plan to deal with this commitment."

According to the Canadian Federation of Students, the average debt load for undergraduate university students in 2006, among those who had debt (59%), was $24,047. Student loans owed to the federal government increases by $1.2 million each day and more than 350,000 students required assistance with post-secondary education costs in the last school year alone.

In additional to tuition fees, the University Cost and Debt Calculator approximates costs associated with room and board, books, entertainment, transportation and more. The tool also provides an idea of what it takes to pay for this education whether through part time employment, bursaries or scholarships, or cutting back on budgets. It provides tuition costs for universities across Canada.

"Students are finishing university with overwhelming debts," adds Hamza. "This tool gives students and parents a high-level understanding of what the total student debt level might be and offers suggestions on how to pay it back - before it becomes an issue. Confronting debt is the first step to putting plans in place to address it."

With the addition of the University Cost and Debt Calculator, the Investor Education Fund is helping to fill the gap in financial literacy education in Canada by focusing on the personal financial needs of today's youth. The University Cost and Debt Calculator complements a variety of other tools available that include the Funny Money high school assembly program, and a new online cartoon series that introduces youth to the challenges of money management. Investor Education Fund is also conducting research to better understand the level of financial skill of high school students and their opinions on financial education.

About the Investor Education Fund
The Investor Education Fund offers unbiased financial information to the general public via http://www.investorED.ca and to students through its Taking Stock in Your Future teacher program, Funny Money assembly program and online financial tools. The not-for-profit organization was established by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), and is funded through OSC enforcement settlements.

For more information, interviews and screen shots, please contact Kathryn Boothby, 905.330.0943 or kathryn(at)polarisprinc(dot)com

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