Costs on the rise as jobs fall

Most students likely enrolled in post-secondary institutions to expand their career opportunities, but now many are feeling uncertain about their futures.
A recent report by Gillian Steward – a Calgary author, journalist and MRU instructor – indicates that as tuition and other student costs rise, job prospects disappear.
The report, entitled Wasted Potential, notes that along with the disappointments of unemployment, student debt is extremely high.
In the past 20 years, average university tuition fees have more than doubled, making students rely more on student loans.
“In the wake of the recession, demand for student loans has skyrocketed,” writes Steward in the report, which was sponsored by the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, Alberta Global Forum, the Calgary Counseling Centre and University of Calgary Students’ Union.
Grant Dunand, a first-year Automotive Management student, is one of the many relying on student loans to further his education.
“It will take me seven to ten years to pay off my loan paying minimum payments,” he said. “And I don’t plan on paying more than the minimum payment unless I win the lottery.”
The report states that as many graduates are unable to find jobs in their field, they turn to jobs that don’t require post-secondary education.
This overqualified workforce shoulders massive debt, which takes longer to pay off with lower- paying jobs, which are mainly outside their chosen field.
Student debt affects students throughout their fledgling professional careers, and it can take decades before students are truly free of the burden. In addition, students turn to private lines of credit to live their lives on a day-to-day basis.
This exacerbates the situation, making the new loan affect your credit down the road and keeping you in debt for longer.
Student-loan debt in Canada is sitting under $14 million dollars, but with employment rates plummeting students are finding it harder and harder to pay back their debts.
Despite the report’s findings, Dunand is still positive.
“I have to be ready for when the time strikes,” he said. “But people in the industry are hiring, you just have to be willing to look.”
SAIT Student Employment, a service which helps students and graduates find work in their fields, can be reached at
Wasted Potential by Gillian Steward can be found at

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