On Campus

Studies find students struggle to fund education

Recession and "racialisation" roadblocks for Canadian post-secondary students

Two student groups have released studies highlighting the difficulties that face post-secondary students in funding their education.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations study, “Summer Work and Paying for Post Secondary Education,” surveyed more than 18,000 full-time undergraduate students. It found that of the 84 per cent of participants who reported working last summer, one-third only found part-time employment, working less than 20 hours per week.

The overall seasonal earning median was $3,200 and students indicated they were only able to save less than half that amount. Of those surveyed, 62 per cent reported personal savings as a source of funding, which includes the previous year’s summer job as well as other personal savings. The study concludes that the the recession has been difficult on students who are increasingly working to fund their own education, but have fewer opportunities to earn money.

A Canadian Federation of Students study also highlights difficulties in funding post-secondary education. Their survey, “The Racialised Impact of Tuition Fees,” argues that rising tuition fees marginalizes “racialised students.” The study’s findings are based on socio-economic indicators, such as lower average wages, experienced by students who identify themselves as a visible minority.

It cites data on tuition fees that have more than tripled in the past two decades and tuition fees as a higher percentage of average income for racialised students to call upon “increased public investment in higher education.” The CFS’ study focuses mostly on Ontario students, who currently pay the highest average tuition fees, according to Statistics Canada.