Tuition fees are constantly going up within Canada and statistics show that post-secondary education has left many students with large amounts of debt to pay off.
According to Statistics Canada, a total of 446,582 students across Canada borrowed money between 2011 and 2012 to put themselves through university or college.
Many graduates who find work after school move from their parental home, and take on a whole new set of responsibilities that can add to the problem.
“I actually got hired right after my work placement, so I moved out from home to live closer to work,” said Humber College graduate Jeanette Gamble.
“But now most my money goes towards living expenses so it gets very stressful, I can’t imagine if I had a student loan to pay off on top if this,” said Gamble.
Humber Financial Aid manager Holsee Sahid, said there has been a 20 per cent increase in students using OSAP in the past five years, and 63 per cent of students at Humber are currently using OSAP in the 2014-15 academic year.
Humber does provide various resources to help students financially throughout their studies, although the need exceeds what’s available. “It’s always a good idea to research the different types of bursaries and scholarships, as well as work study jobs on campus,” said Sahid.
A 2014 Gallup study of 29,560 U.S. students who graduated between 1990 and 2014 with a bachelor’s degree or higher with debt found they lacked confidence not only financially, but socially and physically when it came to a sense of purpose and community.
Post-grad students using OSAP at Humber may feel even more stress financially, as they are more likely to have already taken out a loan for their undergraduate studies.
“I feel as long as I’m in school I don’t worry too much about my OSAP, but I know the second I graduate it is going to be a stressful time for sure,” said Karen Pieper, a post-grad Humber Advertising student.
Sahid said that it’s important to prepare a budget showing all expenses and resources for the school year.
On average, it takes individuals 9.5 to 15 years to pay off their student loans, she said.