08/14/2013 09:43 EDT | Updated 08/15/2013 01:48 EDT

Alberta Students Expect Debt To Be At $27,334: BMO Survey


Students in Alberta are expected to graduate with $27,334 in debt which will take them 6.4 years to pay off, a new study suggests.

According to the BMO Student Survey released Tuesday, the average Canadian student expects to graduate with $26,297 in debt.

Students are also relying eight per cent less on the "bank of mom and dad" compared to figures last year and relying more on loans than savings to finance higher education.

"It's prudent to think about your repayment plan before you graduate, as it can be easy to underestimate the amount of debt you will accumulate or how long it will take to pay it off," said Janet Peddigrew, vice president of BMO Bank of Montreal.

Students in British Columbia anticipate accumulating the most debt at $34,886 and students in Atlantic Canada expect to take the longest to pay down their loans at 7.6 years, the study adds.

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Canadian Student Debt Expectations: BMO Survey 2013
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According to the Canada Student Loan Program, most students take 10 to 14.5 years to pay off their loans.

The survey also looked at stress factors among students. Alberta students chose achieving academic success as their number one source of stress, followed by paying for school and finding a job after graduation.

On average, finances was the biggest factor for stress among Canadian post-secondary students. Women respondents also believed they will accumulate more debt than men.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, polled more than 600 post-secondary students and is considered accurate within four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story stated that students take 10 to 14.5 years to pay off their loans, according to the survey. The Canada Student Loan Program estimates this time period.