Despite the headlines telling us the recession is over, many students continue to worry that they might not have enough money to last them the school year, according to a recent poll.
Half of all Canadian post-secondary students said they are worried their bank accounts won’t carry them all the way until April.
Those who were lucky enough to find a job this summer might have enough to make it to the end of the year. But many students didn’t even have the opportunity to save any money this summer.
Youth unemployment hit an all-time high in July when it reached 20.9 per cent, Statistics Canada reported.
“The 2009 summer labour market was one of the most challenging for students aged 15 to 24,” the federal agency reported Friday.
The average unemployment rate among that age group reached 19.2 per cent over the summer, marking the second highest rate since this data started being collected in 1977.
But even students who worked full-time this summer are concerned about their finances.
“Even if students worked in the summer and throughout the year, it is virtually impossible to pay for tuition and other expenses without help,” said Concordia undergraduate Emily Haffenden.
Her feelings are being echoed throughout campus.
“My summer income barely covers my school expenses,” said Matt Di Marco, a political science student. “If you look beyond the basic costs of tuition, and take into account the additional fees like books, transportation, food, etc, it becomes a very difficult thing to afford. It is important to understand that school expenses go way beyond tuition.”
Though these students managed to work either full- or part-time over the summer and school year, others who weren’t so lucky will have to find other means of financial support.
Quebec’s provincial government offers students loans and bursaries, as does the federal government.
But borrowing all this money means it’ll have to be paid back. And without student jobs, that might prove to be difficult.
So finding ways to stretch the few dollars in the bank could be helpful.
Kavita Joshi, director of student banking at RBC said packing lunches and setting a budget are two simple examples of ways a student can save a few bucks – suggestions Di Marco takes to heart.
“So much money is wasted on excessively using cars which costs a lot in fuel, or in restaurants and food,” he said. “If you can curb your spending on junk food, fast food and going out to eat, you’d be surprised how much money you save on a weekly basis.”
Planning a weekly budget and sticking to it, can help students feel more financially secure, RBC’s website suggested. The budget should include expenses that have to be paid – rent and bills, for example – as well as some luxuries, like bars and restaurants.
Govers, also an advocate for curbing spending through cutting luxuries suggested students don’t buy what they don’t need. “At the end of the week, a coffee a day adds up,” she said. “You need to be able to limit yourself and plan a budget.”