By Connor Schaeffer
Both college and university require students to spend large sums of money that are often non-negotiable. Tuition, books, computers, internet, food, phones, rent and transportation are a few of the major costs affiliated with becoming a post-secondary student.
One of them is Aaron Rainey, a full-time criminology student at Carleton University who works 30-40-hour weeks as a barback at the Heart and Crown in order to pay his rent, bills and buy groceries.
“The standard of living here in Ottawa is expensive and I have to work in order to survive,” said Rainey. “Working long hours can definitely affect my school work in a negative way.”
Many students like Rainey attend school during the day, and then work at night.
Adrianna Boonman-Menard, a former Algonquin student who will be enrolling again in the near future, works as a part-time retail clerk at the campus store.
“I took this job because it is a nice place to work and is close to school,” said Boonman-Menard.
She said that it’s important to be working while you’re in school because you need the money. She also chooses to work rather than collect student loans and fall into debt.
“Students cannot afford to go to school without receiving help,” said Boonman-Menard.
Both Rainey and Booman-Menard are among the thousands of students at Algonquin who must work and study out of economic necessity.
Working full-time and saving in the summer months simply does not cut it. Most students who choose to work in the summer rather than during the school year still end up financially vulnerable and in need of assistance from another party.
Algonquin community studies student Jesse Carter chooses not to work during the school year.
“I don’t have a job but I would consider looking for part time work,” he said. “I receive OSAP and also support from my parents.”
“School was expensive when I went and the issue will always be there,” said Students’ Association frontline service associate Ian Campbell. The SA oversees the Canadian Student Employment Program and lists available jobs and positions on their website.
Part-time positions at Subway, McDonald’s, Pizza Pizza, and Tim Hortons are hospitable to student workers but do not provide high wages. Although these fast food chains are close to campus, provide flexible working hours and rely on part-time workers, they simply do not pay enough for a student to adequately live comfortably off these wages. As tuition prices and cost of living continue to increase, so will the demand for student part-time jobs.