Tuition, debt, rent, groceries, and other living expenses quickly add up, leaving many of us with a close to a negative balance in our bank account. Most students are constantly worried about money, and financial stress not only restricts our budget – it can also sink our degrees. To help students deal with financial hardship, we need to understand how money worries affect you. So we asked.
79% of students reported that financial stress prevents them from focusing on school. This means that you are not alone. The majority of us feel anxious over money, which gets in the way of getting schoolwork done.
Vancouver is currently ranked as the second most expensive city in the country to rent an apartment. As such, students’ feelings about rent are largely unexpected, but also extremely frustrating. 82% of students reported feeling stressed about paying rent every month. While groceries seem to be less of a worry, it remains a concern for over half of students.
How are students getting money?
Many are able to attend university with the help of grants and loans, and over half of those that require this type of financial assistance explained that they wouldn’t have been able to afford their studies without it. In addition, 71% of students reported that they were receiving financial support from their parents or other relatives.
However, while the proportion of unemployed students is larger, those who work largely feel like they could complete their education more effectively if they didn’t have to work.
Even with work and external support, 57% of students believe that their total income is insufficient to meet their needs during the school year. The question that follows is fairly obvious: what is something that would really help you if you’re dealing with financial hardship? Higher wages, lower tuition, cheaper on-campus housing, more understanding workloads for those that are employed, and more financial assistance for international students were some of the options that students suggested would help with their struggle.
University on a budget
Attending university on a tight budget also means having to make tough choices. Students reported having to choose between buying healthy food and having some room in their budget for extra expenses, maintaining good mental health and picking up work shifts during school, or their family wellness and their future. Others have to limit the courses that they take in order to be able to work, and reported feeling exhausted due to the lack of free time.
Enduring financial hardship is difficult, and talking about it isn’t easy either.