UCRU Press Release: CERB Isn’t Any Help for Many Post-Secondary Students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC, April 17, 2020
The Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU) coordinated a national student survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on Canadian post-secondary students. More than 3,000 participants from 64 institutions across the country shared details about their financial situation during COVID-19. UCRU found that many students are in immediate need of financial support and are not covered by existing government support programs.
“Students are telling us directly that they’re feeling helpless and many don’t have anywhere to turn to for immediate financial support. Relying on a combination of financial supports throughout the year and facing difficulties finding a summer job they were expecting to get to support them over the summer and into the new school year, student are in a vulnerable position and they need immediate support” UCRU Chair, Cristina Ilnitchi, says.
UCRU appreciates the steps taken by the federal government so far, including the freeze on student loan repayments and the increased funding to the Canada Summer Jobs program, but hundreds of thousands of students are still missed.
The findings show that:
- 83% of students who responded to our survey indicated they are not eligible for the CERB
- 73% of students are worried about meeting immediate financial obligations like paying for rent, utilities, groceries, and credit card bills
- 79% of students are worried about paying for tuition in the Fall
- 37% of students are still looking for summer work
- 23% of students had their existing summer work delayed, including 14% who had their signed contract cancelled altogether
- 21% of students are worried their summer contract will be cancelled
The UCRU recommends the government to:
- Distribute the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or an alternative summer income supplement to students and new graduates
- Distribute an emergency fund to be administered by post-secondary institutions to remedy any remaining gaps
- Enhance existing government financial aid programs for post-secondary students for Fall 2020 entry
UCRU is a national coalition of student unions from U15 post-secondary institutions across Canada that represents the interests of over 250,000 students. Together, we advocate to the federal government to build a more accessible, affordable, and supportive education for undergraduate students.
Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities, Chair