Today's students must work more to pay for tuition
Students working longer and harder at minimum wage to pay for their tuition, study shows
New research shows that today's university students are paying 10 times more for tuition, and they have to work far more hours to pay for it than ever before.
Overall tuition costs in New Brunswick went from $653 in 1975 to just over $6,000 last year. Only Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have higher rates.
Law degrees have seen the biggest jump in cost since the 1970s.
Jordan Thompson, a second-year law student at the University of New Brunswick, said his government loans are nearing $50,000.
"I had to take out a private line of credit for my law degree, which is probably about $20,000 right now,” he said. "It'll probably take at least a decade to pay off a reasonable amount every month."
Thompson is paying far more for his degree than students did 40 years ago.
In 1972, a year in law school cost just over $600. Today, it is more than $8,000.
Those numbers are not surprising to UNB Student Union President Ben Whitney.
"Our participation rates in New Brunswick for post-secondary education are low. Our debt levels are incredibly high. Our unemployment in very high. So it's getting very difficult for students to even access post-secondary at this point,” he said.
Tuesday's report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives also shows students working longer and harder at minimum wage to pay for their tuition.
In 1975, 293 hours of work paid for a year's tuition. Today's students have to put in 613 hours of work.
Fourth-year kinesiology student Erlyn Fletcher works 18 to 20 hours every week at two jobs.
"One of them's minimum wage, it's off campus and then I have an on-campus job that's a little bit above minimum wage," she said.
Whitney said those who have student loans can't earn more than $100 each week or their loan gets clawed back.
"You can't make enough money in the summer to afford school. You need loans to make that up. And then during the year when you need more money that the loans aren't meeting, they've created a system in which you get penalized for doing that,” she said.