Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Study Shows Students Have to Work More Hours to Pay for Education

Study Shows Students Have to Work More Hours to Pay for Education

The increases require students to make tough decisions as to whether they should continue working to avoid racking up debt.

A study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that huge increases in tuition costs are creating a significant burden on students. Analysing data from Statistics Canada, the research concluded that in order to pay for tuition, students today have to work many times more the number of hours at minimum-wage jobs than they did 40 years ago.

Looking at the years 1975 to 2013, data reveals that the average number of hours spent at a minimum wage job in 1975 to pay for an undergraduate degree was 230. By 2013, the number more than doubled to 570, with the greatest increases seen in professional faculties, like law, medicine and dentistry. Students in the dental field needed 286 hours at minimum wage in 1975 to pay the tuition fee of $664. By contrast, a total of 1,711 hours were need in 2013 to pay the $17,324 tuition fee.

By examining a database that compares national tuition cost averages, faculty costs and provincial variations, the study presented an overall view of provincial statistics. Alberta had the highest per cent increase, while Ontario requires the greatest amount of minimum-wage work to cover tuition. Saskatchewan saw a threefold jump, with Newfoundland and Labrador reporting the smallest increase of only 16 per cent.

The increases require students to make tough decisions as to whether they should continue working to avoid racking up debt, or quit to focus on their studies. A University of Manitoba student who opted to quit her job says,“You are always on this treadmill, trying to catch up with what you are doing.You have no downtime.” She adds, “It makes me anxious to think about it. How much do I owe? How will I pay it back?”

The economist who led the study, Armine Yalnizyan, feels that it’s hard to preach to students about the importance of earning a degree when that’s getting “more and more difficult to do.”

Although some students are able to take advantage of financial assistance offered by universities and the provincial governments, balancing finances while getting an education is always a tough job. The bottom line is quite a conundrum: you need an education to get a good job, and you need a job (sometimes more than one) to pay for a good education.

Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at STUDY Magazine is a team of industry professionals.
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