October 1, 2012

Student loans are back – in the news at least. The Vanier Institute published an article on their website, September 26th about the price of going to school (you can download the article from Vanier here). They pay particular attention to how anxiety and stress over the costs of going to school significantly affect a growing number of students. In their report they cite a number of research articles that highlight the post secondary education worries:

  • 27% of students questioned reported being very stressed about paying for school - more so than finding a job after graduation (22%) per cent or achieving success academically (20 per cent).  (CBC News)
  • For the 2012/2013 academic year, the average undergraduate student can anticipate paying $5,366 in tuition fees, plus $750 in additional compulsory fees (Stats Canada)

Unlike many reports, they include the additional financial burden of housing and other related school and living expenses although no dollar figure is given. Other interesting findings:

  • In 2011, almost 430,000 students borrowed in order to pay for university or college. Students borrow money from different sources, including federal and provincial governments, personal networks, lines-of-credit or credit cards). Many students work part- or full-time to reduce their borrowing, often making academic commitments more difficult to fulfil. (Canadian Federation of Students)
  • Just under one-half of full-time post-secondary students combine education and work, averaging 16 hours of paid work per week (Stats Canada)
  • Graduating students owe on the average $25,000

A detailed review of student loans in Canada by Jeannine Mitchell has been published in Almost Empty A Credit Counsellor’s Guide to the Instant Gratification Culture by Douglas P. Welbanks (Chateau Lane Publishing 2012) reaches the conclusion that, “What was once a public investment in Canada’s future has increasing become privatized debt. The rise in this privatized debt has even led to a growing ‘education debt’ industry ranging from US-based student loans ‘management’ corporations to private student loans and, inevitably, lawyers and collection agents.”

To Be Continued…