There is a student debt crisis in Canada, and it’s especially bad in Ontario.
The average tuition fees in Canada for the 2020-2021 school year were $6,693 for undergraduate students and $7,472 for graduate students. In Ontario, those numbers were even higher: the average tuition fees were $7,938 for undergraduates and $9,939 for graduates, according to an annual report by Statistics Canada.
Those stats don’t consider the costs of living in Ontario, particularly Toronto, where one year tends to cost about $20,000 or so, depending on several factors, like the cost of rent and transportation.
That’s a lot of money when you don’t have time to work a full-time job.
Student Debt and Mental Health
It’s by no means surprising that student debt is linked to mental health issues. Students in debt are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and even thoughts of suicide than students who are not in debt.
Not only that, but students in debt do not perform as well academically.
Student Debt and Physical Health
When your mental health suffers, so too does your physical health and vice versa.
Students in debt demonstrate higher levels of physical health issues like high blood pressure and inactivity. They also have higher rates of substance abuse.
Financial Help for Students in Debt
If you’re a student in debt, you don’t have to suffer. Living with loans is difficult; no one denies that. But there are ways that you can make life better—mentally, physically, and financially.
Many students in Toronto faced with ever-mounting loans to pay once they graduate are not aware of the financial resources available to them.
Students in Toronto can seek financial help from post-secondary institutions, government, banks, and non-profit credit counselling agencies that offer debt consolidation in Canada.
Financial Help from Post-Secondary Institutions
If you’re a student, meeting with a financial adviser at your institution is an excellent way to get the financial help you need and deserve. A financial adviser will teach you what resources are available at your institution and how you can apply.
Post-secondary institutions offer university-wide loans, scholarships, grants, and bursaries. So too do individual departments. For instance, if you’re an English major, consider researching what scholarships and bursaries the English Department offers and apply for the ones you qualify for.
Financial Help from the Government
Across Canada, students can seek financial help from the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC). In Ontario, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is another financial resource. Both issue loans, scholarships, grants, and bursaries.
Financial Help from Banks and Non-Profit Credit Counselling Agencies
Banks and non-profit credit counselling agencies can also provide students with financial guidance.
For example, like post-secondary institutions and the government, some banks in Canada offer bursaries and scholarships.
Non-profit credit counselling agencies can also help students overcome their debt issues and achieve financial freedom.
If you’re a student in Toronto faced with student debt, you don’t have to suffer. There are many resources available to you. You just need to do your research and speak to those who can help.