Perspectives on higher education payments from students in Canada

Students need help affording their education, and installment plans would help.

77% of higher education students in Canada would like the ability to pay for their education in installments, saying that it would help them better afford it. However, only 44% say their institution offers payment plan options—lower than every other country surveyed except Mexico (33%).

Where payment plans are offered, 60% of students in Canada are either currently using them, or are considering it.

A recent report commissioned by Flywire that surveyed more than 1,800 students worldwide found that, like students in many other countries, students in Canada are struggling with the rising cost of higher education, which is being driven by global economic conditions. Here are some of the key insights from the report, based on the survey responses of 205 students in Canada.

Students in Canada are struggling to afford education

  • 82% say they need help affording their education and 75% believe that limited payment options are a significant stressor for them or their families. More than half attribute that stress to financial difficulties.
  • 61% feel they have been impacted by recent global economic events. And because of this, one in five students have had to actually take time off from school, higher than any country other than India (21%).
  • In fact, while only 22% of students from Canada are currently studying abroad or have done so in the past year and the same number are planning to in the future, nearly two thirds of them said that better educational value was their driver for international education.

Education loans are common in Canada, but often cause students to worry about the future

  • 50% of the students surveyed in Canada have taken loans to help pay for their education expenses, behind only the U.K. (83%) and Australia (72%). Those loans come primarily from national and local governments.
  • Most (76%) are worried that having those loans will prevent them from doing other things in their life such as saving for a home (63%), traveling (54%) or getting married and having a family (37%).

Students in Canada value ease and convenience when deciding how to pay for education

  • Today students in Canada pay primarily by transfer/eCheck from bank (34%), credit card (22%) or debit card (18%).
  • And given the choice, they would generally like to use those same methods.
  • The main motivations for their payment choices are that it seemed the easiest option available (41%), parent preference (39%), and convenience (33%).

Students in Canada would like to see simpler payment processes and clearer direction from educational institutions

  • 68% of students in Canada say having multiple payment options causes confusion.
  • While the large majority (78%) believe having payment choices is good, they feel they need to be limited because too many makes the process confusing.
  • 86% agree that access to a simplified payment process would improve their higher education experience, by making the payment aspect faster, more convenient and less stressful. They also like the idea of knowing exactly how and where to pay.
  • 88% also agree that having their education institution recommend a payment provider option would simplify the process.
College student in Canada

Learn more about payment preferences and solutions for higher education students