Student Stories of Financial Challenge

In this series UBC students tell us their challenges of juggling school and finances. If you have a story to share you can submit it anonymously.


Name: Penny Pincher in Denial (PPD)

Going to UBC on a tight budget means I have to decide between…

  • Living 1.5+ hours from campus or cutting my food budget in half and working part-time
  • Partaking in Vancouver’s delicious foods at the expense of a few days meals or skipping out on socializing and meeting people
  • Figuring out how to live off $100 a month or failing to do so and starving a few days
  • Going to the library everyday to fight for access to reserve books or getting them in less legal methods
  • Skipping out on buying medication so I can afford my rent/food

Finances affects my education by…

  • Not having access to technology all the time = less time to study: I had several computer dependent courses but I was unable to checkout the laptop longer than a day which meant I had to walk to and from the library or to different ones if they were all checked out. That was kinda ok but I had to reinstall/reconfigure the programs every time I checked out the laptops and was late to class often.
  • Constantly rejecting socializing invitations because I can’t afford to join, or even skipping out on certain courses that require extra funds.
  • I need to juggle work and school and taking care of a dependent. If funds are too low I sometimes have to skip class to pick up extra shifts.
  • Mental breakdowns because of the stress, panic attacks, and was in the hospital twice for health issues.

The most desperate thing I’ve done at UBC because of money…

  • Almost sold myself to make money – but I stopped before anything happened. (Discovered that I have caring friends who gave me loan – which I worked overtime in the summer to pay back).
  • Also, went to every free event possible on campus that had food so I could eat.

What would really help me is…

  • Better shared resources or information/resource center that reaches across campus (lots of information stays on the north half, the south half never knows what’s going on).
  • Clearer actionable things that we can do to alleviate funding – not just an assigned ESP but a listing of possible routes to help reduce financial burdens.
  • Better fee structure of courses outlined before registration: including costs of required text books and necessary equipment (please no surprises). Also for mandatory courses in later years.
  • Free food that would’ve been thrown out (such as from catering), yes I know about the food bank but I don’t feel comfortable going there. With the other option there’s a guide that it’s for sustainability reasons.

Have finances interfered with your ability to focus on school? Share your story with us anonymously. Stories are a powerful way to shine more light on a subject that affects so many students and will help the AMS advocate for a more affordable education.

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