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Twenty-five per cent of Canadians believe a degree is necessary for economic success

A man walks across the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan A man walks across the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax on Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
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TORONTO -

A new survey suggests one in four Canadians believe a university degree is essential to succeed economically.

The poll from the Association for Canadian Studies and the Metropolis Institute also indicates young people are more likely to believe a university degree is essential to their financial success.

Just over 1,500 Canadians responded to the web poll during the week of Sept. 25.

Of those between 18 and 24, 43 per cent believed in the necessity of a university degree.

But respondents past university age were less likely to value a degree when it comes to financial success.

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says this suggests that once people enter the workforce with a university degree, they might start to question whether the years of education were worth it.

“Once you hit the workplace, I think at that point, people are saying: 'Hey, what is the true value? What was the value that this brought to me?”' he said.

Meanwhile, respondents who were immigrants to Canada were more likely to believe a degree is essential.

Of the respondents born outside of Canada, 35.8 per cent said a degree was key to economic success, compared to 23.9 per cent of those born in Canada.

Residents of Quebec were least likely to believe a university degree was necessary, with only 16.2 per cent saying it's crucial for economic success, compared to more than 30 per cent in the regions on either side of it: Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Those in Alberta were most likely to see a degree as an economic necessity - 31.1 per cent. In British Columbia, 25.8 per cent thought a degree was essential, as did 27.1 per cent in the Prairies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2023.

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