High levels of debt and high costs to education are forcing more students to work during their degree, which has negative effects on their academics. According to CASA’s Leaps and Bounds Paper, summer employment for students aged 15-24 was 47.9% in 2012, meaning a larger number of students are unable to secure employment to supplement the increasing costs to attend university.

Our increasing reliance on a debt-based student financial aid system encourages borrowing and increases access barriers to debt-averse youth. In the 2011 SU Student Survey, 70.3% of respondents stated they had public student loans, and of those, 30% owed more than $20,000.

Below is a visual representation of the average student debt load of students who carry student loans.

University of Alberta students are also using loans from private sources to finance their education, and the high interest rates on these only serve to increase debt loads and the overall cost of attending PSE. The 2011 Student Survey saw 44% of survey respondents using loans from private sources to finance their education.

Town Hall

Check out a video recording of the town hall that took place on SUBstage on Tuesday, March 26.