University degrees leave grads with more student debt, less skills

Jessica Tedesco

News Reporter

Higher education can also lead to higher debt.

According to Statistics Canada, college students were more likely to graduate with less debt (under $10,000) while bachelor students were more likely to graduate with more debt ($25,000 or more).

The study, Graduating in Canada: Profile, Labour Market Outcomes and Student Debt of the Class of 2009-2010, also indicated that almost half of bachelor graduates pursued further education within three years of graduation. This means even further debt for students with bachelor degrees who are turning to college programs for more specialized work skills.

Annette Borger-Snel, Program Coordinator & Professor of the Public Relations Graduate Certificate at Humber College said that although the program available at North campus is capped at 80 students, they receive over 500 applications each year.  “Our program is vocational-centric — we build on the critical thinking students may have obtained in university and help them become PR practitioners.”

For post-graduate certificate programs in areas such as public relations, Borger-Snel said, “in addition to the class instruction and casework, we help them network via industry associations, teach them resume writing, presentation skills and preparing a portfolio of work.”

However, the pressure to get a university education is a reality for many students.

“I felt somewhat pressured to go to university,” said Amanda Di Febo, a Sociology graduate from York University.

Students going to post-secondary institutions should be doing a realistic assessment of their individual interests and abilities in order to determine whether a university or college education is right for them.

“I think a university degree is worth the investment because no matter what, that degree will give you a strong general knowledge platform from which you can expand and specialize in the field and competitive edge in comparison to those who enter the work force directly from high school,” said Melina De Guglielmo, contract teaching faculty and former teaching assistant at York University.

“It is important, however, to find a program that allows you to integrate both work in the field (a co-op placement) and course work to maximize your time and also to gain invaluable hands on experience.”