Last updated: November 19, 2010 12:07 pm
Half of full-time Quebec students live on $12,000 a year
New study finds that work plays the largest role in paying for school
MONTREAL (CUP) — University students in Quebec are in a precarious financial position, according to a new report by the province's largest student lobby group.
“50 per cent of full-time students live on less than $12,200 per year, 25 per cent on less than $74,00,” Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec president Louis-Philippe Savoie said in French. “This data includes the amounts received in [government student loans]. Imagine the disastrous effect that raising tuition fees by the Charest government” would have on these students.
The report, released on Nov. 18, is based on a survey of 12,619 students.
The lobby group intends to use the report at the provincial government’s meeting of education partners in early December. The meeting will see university administrators and student groups sit down with politicians to talk about the state of post-secondary education in the province, including the rate of tuition.
But, student groups have criticized the meeting because the government has already announced its intention to raise tuition in 2012. Quebec’s second-largest student lobby group has already said they will boycott the meeting.
The report covers the sources of student financing and cost of living, including how much students are spending on tuition, food and housing.
It shows significant differences between full- and part-time students. While work is the biggest source of student financing, part-time students receive a much larger portion of their finances from working and take on less debt.
According to the report, the majority — 55 per cent — of financing for full-time students comes from work. Over 80 per cent of full-time students work an average of 18.8 hours per week. For part-time students the work is even more important, accounting for 83 per cent of their financing.
“The portrait of the lazy student is totally false,” said Savoie.
Financial support from parents is the second largest source of student financing at 22 per cent. 60 per cent of full-time students receive financial contributions from their parents. Twenty-three per cent of part-time students receive financial support from their parents, which accounts for seven per cent of financing.
Over 60 per cent of full-time students will go into debt. The average full-time student in Quebec will graduate with $14,000 in debt. Student loans make up the majority of this debt, with 44.5 per cent of full-time students receiving them, compared to 23.4 per cent who take out bank loans or credit lines and 22.1 per cent take on credit card debt.
The survey also found that 46.6 per cent of part-time students will go into debt, with an average debt at graduation of $11,500.
As well, the survey looked at student backgrounds, finding that 27 per cent of part-time students have at least one child and that the parents of 45 per cent of full-time students didn’t go to university.
The report also includes several recommendations for the provincial government, including the adoption of programs to improve the accessibility of universities, help students balance family and students, freeze tuition and improve the financial aid program by adjusting the allowable expenses and parental contribution.
The survey was conducted by Léger Marketing in 2009. Eight per cent of undergraduate students in Quebec participated. It has a margin of error of three per cent, 19 times out of 20.