Debt Weighs Heavily On The Minds Of Students

The Burden of Student Debt: A Silent Suffering

The specter of debt, particularly student debt, casts a long shadow over the minds of many students. It’s a burden that can be crippling, particularly when the primary focus should be on their studies and laying the foundation for a fruitful future. Despite the challenges, there are several options available to help students navigate this financial labyrinth.

Coping with the Financial Strain

The financial strain of student debt can be utterly overwhelming. However, by establishing a budget and sticking to it, students can avoid the pitfalls of accumulating unnecessary expenses. Consider buying textbooks second-hand, swapping your daily coffee shop visits for a home-brewed cup, and doing bulk grocery shopping with roommates.

Debt Weighs Heavily On The Minds Of Students as the cost of tuition and living expenses continues to rise, forcing many to rely on credit to cover everyday costs and create a financial buffer for expenses that part-time jobs can’t meet. This reliance on credit, coupled with underemployment and sizeable student loans, creates a perfect storm of financial tension.

The Increasing Debt Load

Many new graduates find themselves leaving the academic realm with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Meanwhile, those about to embark on their college or university journey are faced with steep tuition fees that often result in a similar financial burden.

Even as some schools offer financial aid to ease the burden, it seems that the average student debt continues to rise. Consequently, certain institutions have begun to bolster their mental health services in response to the increasing need to assist students in coping with financial stress.

The Psychology of Debt

The psychology of debt is a topic of concern for many.

Recognizing the need for financial education, the law faculty organized a well-attended workshop discussing the psychology of debt. Furthermore, the faculty’s student representatives pushed for the connection between tuition fees and student stress to be discussed at the faculty council’s annual meeting.

The Silent Sufferers

Many students suffer in silence, with average student debt in Canada surpassing the $25,000 mark. This figure only includes federal loan debt and doesn’t account for provincial or private loans.

An Ontario student graduating from a four-year university program, for instance, could be shouldering an average of $22,207 in provincial debt. Combined with the average federal loan, their total debt could exceed $34,000.

The Impact of Debt on Mental Health

The burden of such substantial debt can negatively impact the mental health of students and graduates. While there is limited published research on the link, some studies suggest that students with higher loans are more likely to report poor mental health.

Canadian experts have also noticed a similar trend, even though Canadian students don’t usually accrue as much debt as their American counterparts.

Addressing the Issue: Institutions Step In

Institutions are beginning to address these issues. York University’s director of student financial services, Jillian Yeung Do, shared her experience of working with a student whose financial stress was a cause for concern. This encounter led her to the decision to train her entire team to better engage with students under financial stress.

The University of Toronto’s law faculty staff is also set to undergo training on mental health issues.

Working Towards a Solution

In response to these concerns, the law faculty has designated a new academic, personal, and wellness coordinator to work with Archbold to develop a wellness strategy. The committee will continue to engage with students to improve this strategy.

The burden of student debt is indeed a silent suffering. However, through a combination of financial education, institutional support, and individual resilience, students can navigate this challenging terrain.

Debt may weigh heavily on the minds of many students, but they are not alone in their journey. Institutions, faculty, and peers are recognizing the struggle and are stepping up to provide the necessary support. Together, they can work towards a solution, empowering students to focus on their academic success and future prosperity.

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