One of the joys of travelling by road is seeing signs that say: “Welcome to [province or state]!” They tell us that we may have just traded the familiar for the unfamiliar and the predictable for the unpredictable. If we happen to miss the vertical “Welcome” mat beside the highway because we’re focusing on the 18-wheeler we’re trying to pass, there are always lots of other clues that: “We’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.” The signs are different, the road markings are different, the “Trucks Only” lanes are different, even the speed limits may be different. As soon as we cross the line, our license plates are from “away”.
Life would be so much easier if there were road signs for things other than places, things like: “New Reality – 30 km. Have your toll payment ready. Oversize vehicles, keep right.” Or “Proceed with caution. Uncertain economy.” We’d have time to prepare. And we would prepare, because, if it was important enough to get there, it would only make sense to be ready, wouldn’t it?
Considering how many families plan to send their children to university — and the sacrifices they’re willing to make to do it — in April of this year I asked 169 people how important it was for them to look before they leapt by completing a 5-minute, on-line survey about what they want higher education to do for their children and how much it’s going to cost. If they had no children, they could answer the questions in terms of what they believed today’s higher education is doing for kids in general and what the price is today. The responses were confidential, so I had no way of identifying who the respondents were.
Fourteen (14) people completed the survey.
The statistics below are a snapshot of life in New Reality. They’re also signposts. For parents, for their children, and ultimately, for all of us.
Average annual cost of tuition in Canada in 1975: $551
Average annual cost of tuition in Canada in 2013: $5772
Average annual cost of tuition in Ontario in 1975: $610
Average annual cost of tuition in Ontario in 2013: $7259
Hits generated by Googling ‘number of Canadians with outstanding student loans’: 3.6 million
Hits generated by Googling ‘number of Americans with outstanding student loans’: 13.7 million
Number of Canadian families carrying student debt: 1 in 8
Total value of outstanding Canadian student debt: C$25 billion to C$50 billion
Percentage of Canadian students worried about tuition, expenses and loan repayment: 48
Percentage of Canadian students worried about finding a well-paying job: 37
Percentage of Canadian students worried about owing C$25,000+ after graduation: 36
CP24 breaks story about more aggressive targets for collecting student loans: Aug. 30, 2015
Number of Americans carrying student loan debt: 40 million
Total value of outstanding American student debt: US$1.2 trillion
Number of Americans who have defaulted on their loans: 7 million
On October 6, 2013, I configured Google Alerts to deliver links to stories containing the phrase “student debt” to my e-mail in-box once a day. The results are not confined to North America.
Average number of links per day, 7 days a week: 10
Total number of links to date: 6,700
The PDD website went live in October of 2013. It contains blog posts and a section entitled 84 Must-Read Articles… and counting. It’s a carefully stocked mini-library of opinion pieces and research reports that parents should – no – must consider before making decisions about higher education that will not only impact on their children, but could harm their parents as well.
PDD makes it its business to know what’s down the road so that we can share what we learn with you. Because we’re all living in New Reality.
Founder & President
Personal Due Diligence
+ 1 905 273 9880
P.S.: To find out how different today’s world is from the one in which we grew up, not to mention from the way we think it is, please click on the following links. All URLs have been scanned and are virus free.
The Japan That Can Say No
What is big data? (IBM)
Google Ideas and Arbor Networks
http://www.digitalattackmap.com/ – anim=1&color=0&country=ALL&list=0&time=16659&view=map