Post-secondary students continue to face significant study and living costs in 2022. According to the University of Waterloo, yearly costs for a single student include: off-campus shared housing ($8,400-$20,400), groceries ($4,200), transportation ($300), and books and supplies ($2,880).Ultimately, university students can expect a total annual cost of living between $21,060 and $33,0602, in addition to an average annual tuition of $6,834 (undergraduate) or $7,437 (graduate).
To help support these rapidly inflating post-secondary expenses, many students have increasingly turned to the Canada Student Financial Assistance (CSFA) program. In 2020, the federal government temporarily increased CSFA grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to $6000 for full-time students and $10,000 for students with disabilities. However, this investment will expire on July 31 2023, which presents a significant challenge for Canadian students relying on this financial aid who are facing inflated costs substantially higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Summary of Recommendations:
- Lower interest rates on student loans by 1% each year through the government’s existing mandate with the final goal of eliminating any interest paid on Canada Student Loans.
- Maintain current funding levels to Canada Student Grants past the 2022-23 school year, permanently doubling grant maximums for eligible students from $3,000 to $6,000 per academic year.
- Increase the value of graduate scholarships awarded by the Tri-Agencies by 48%, at a cost of $155.4 million ongoing, and double the number of awards given to students at a cost of $190 million ongoing, to ensure awards are internationally competitive and increase with the cost of living.
- Increase the number of Canada Apprenticeship Grants to 40,000 per year to address the urgent need for apprentices and skilled trades across Canada.
- Create an up-front, non-repayable Canada Student Grant for graduate students with high financial need, at an estimated cost of $381.5 million per year.
- Create a new fund of $500 million over 4 years for the hiring of student mental health professionals on post-secondary campuses.