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Does a Degree Lead to Confidence? BMO Report Reveals Students' Outlook on Securing a Job, Home and Financial Stability

- Two thirds of graduating students believe their degree will lead to a job that allows them to buy a house and support a family

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 09/02/14 -- BMO Bank of Montreal today released a report on the confidence level of students in achieving future milestones, such as getting a job, buying a home and supporting a family after they graduate.

The report, conducted by Pollara, revealed that while optimism drops between first year and graduating years (fourth and fifth years), the majority of graduating students still believe their degree will lead to a job with strong financial stability.

Securing a job and career satisfaction

--  Three quarters (76 per cent) of graduating students believe they will be
    able to find a job in their field after graduation
--  Eight-in-ten graduating students believe their degree will lead to a job
    with strong career satisfaction

Buying a house and supporting a family

--  Two thirds (68 per cent) of graduating students believe their degree
    will lead to a job that enables them to buy a house; 64 per cent believe
    they will be able to support a family
--  Graduating students increase their home-buying timeline by almost 2
    years, predicting it will take 9.1 years after graduation to purchase a

                       Varying Confidence of Students
I'm confident that my degree will
 lead to a job that enables me        First-year   Fourth/Fifth
 to...                                  students  year students      Overall
Support a family                             80%            64%          78%
Buy a house                                  80%            68%          76%
Strong career satisfaction                   90%            80%          89%
I will be able to buy a house in:      7.6 years      9.1 years    7.9 years

"By the time students reach their final years of education, they have a clear picture of both the cost incurred through their degree and their future financial situation as they graduate and enter the workforce," said Hugh Mckee, Vice President Customer Segments, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The transition from student to graduate can be overwhelming. Recent graduates need to ensure they are prepared to manage their expenses and savings as they begin their careers."

The report also revealed other positive changes between the first year and final year of undergraduate education, including smaller student loan debts, less stress and an increase in financial independence:

--  Graduating students estimate they will have $21,894 in student loan
    debt; $8,613 lower than the first year student estimate
--  Half (53 per cent) of graduating students are stressed about their
    student loan amount, lower than the two-thirds (67 per cent) of first
    year students who feel stressed
--  Of first year students, only 10 per cent are completely independent from
    their parents; 19 per cent of graduating students have financial

BMO offers the following tips to help students and recent graduates maximise their budgets:

Minimize banking fees: Do research and learn ways to save money and cut costs on banking fees, such as choosing a no-fee bank plan. BMO offers students free banking and is the only bank to extend this offer for an additional year after graduation.

Take advantage of "student status": Seek out discounts and promotions available to students. For instance, the no-fee BMO SPC MasterCard provides discounts at hundreds of retailers and restaurants across Canada and offers a choice of CashBack or AIR MILES reward miles.

Limit interest costs: Consider using a lower-rate option when borrowing to help cover expenses during school. The BMO Student Line of Credit, for example, charges interest only on what is actually borrowed and allows students to make interest-only payments while in school and up to one year following graduation.

The BMO Student Survey which was conducted by Pollara between August 1st and August 8th, 2014, with an online sample of 600 Canadians who will be attending a post-secondary school program in September 2014. Data has been weighted using the latest Canadian census information to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 600 is +/- 4.0%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets exceeding $586 billion and approximately 47,000 employees at July 31, 2014.

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