Ask a random selection of students about their financial circumstances and you’ll hear about many different existing realities.
The Times reached out to students through social media in an effort to hear their stories regarding their financial situations and the difficulties they’re facing.
“I think my biggest difficulty right now, financially speaking, is that everything is getting more and more expensive every day,” said first-year public relations student, Sean Fevrier.
Fevrier is currently unemployed, but while he was previously enrolled in the college’s business management and entrepreneurship program, he lived the tough reality of balancing work with school and playing sports.
“I didn’t have any free time,” he said. “It was probably the most stressful time of my life, but I needed the money.” Fevrier mentioned that he struggled with time management when he was balancing his three different lives.
“Sleep wasn’t a thing at that time.”
He said that while he was working, he put in a minimum of 20 hours a week – sometimes finishing his shifts at 2 a.m. – only to have class the following morning at 8.
“I just don’t have the time to work,” he said. Although Fevrier lives at home, he still feels the burden of his expenses.
He said he regularly takes the bus to school, due to the hefty fees he would otherwise have to pay for parking and gas.
But for Jenalee Thompson, public transit is simply not an option.
“The driving takes up a lot of time,” said the third-year business administration accounting student. “It’s a hundred kilometres each way, but it’s so much cheaper than actually living in Ottawa.”
Thompson, who lives in Iroquois, said her commute typically lasts an hour – but when there’s a snowstorm, it takes her two hours. She said she sometimes worries that she will travel the long distance, only to have her classes cancelled.
“That’s one of my main concerns,” she said.
Thompson lived on her own during her first year of school, while she maintained a part-time job. Although she is not currently working, she remembers how difficult the reality was.
“It was exhausting, going to school during the day and working at night,” she said.
But overall, Thompson is content with her current financial situation. “I’m doing pretty good compared to other people my age,” she said.
International student Faiyaz Ishraq lives a different reality than many students know.
The second-year aviation student and Bangladesh native said that he’s unable to receive financial aid such as OSAP for his studies due to his international status – and his tuition comes at a high cost.
“I told my friends that I pay three times as much as they do,” Ishraq said, explaining that his tuition ranges from $7,000 to $8,000 per semester.
But his financial expenses don’t end with his tuition and basic living needs.
In addition to paying his way through his studies, Ishraq must think of other expenses, such as his international visa and flights back home – which cost as much as $3,000.
Because he is an international student, Ishraq is only permitted to be employed within campus walls.
“We get into a lot of trouble if we start working somewhere else,” he said. Ishraq works as a photographer for the AC Hub, but said he is only allowed to work 20 hours a week.
To add to his financial stresses, Ishraq said there are also regulations in place back in Bangladesh, which prevent his parents from simply transferring money to him overnight.
“So if I need money tomorrow,” he said, “it’s going to be a problem.”