Over a 12-day period, from July 23 to August 4, students from 10 universities across Canada were asked to grade their level of financial preparedness for the upcoming school year. The schools chosen included the University of Toronto, York University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo, the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa, Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, and McMaster University. 1,090 students participated between the ages of 18 and 25.At U of T, 47 per cent of students gave themselves an A grade, and 41 per cent gave themselves a B. These grades are among the highest in the country, according to a national survey conducted by Canadian direct bank Tangerine.The number of U of T students who gave themselves an A grade was second only to the University of Waterloo, at 50 per cent. The national average for students with an A grade was 37 per cent.
The article’s findings, however, were met with some surprise from many U of T students who found the results questionable.Second-year life science student Alex Culham spoke to the high cost of living for U of T students. “Not only is U of T way more expensive tuition-wise compared to other universities, but Toronto in general is also way more expensive than most other cities,” she said.Aftabuddin Ahmed, an economics and international relations student, believes that the high costs of international student tuition make it difficult to balance a budget. “If U of T is to truly become the lynchpin of academic excellence, it needs [to] allow students, especially internationals, the experience of studying [enjoyably] and free of financial worries.” As an international student himself, Ahmed added that international students should be eligible for more scholarships and financial aid. “The pressure that [international students] have to face is immense and sometimes impossible to handle.”The study also revealed various aspects to student finances, including the fact that U of T and York students are most worried about their future.The survey spoke to the high amount of debt being incurred by students, and stated that 80 per cent of students would be willing to give up beer for the duration of their education if it meant that they could graduate debt-free. Sixty-four per cent of students claimed that they have some amount of student debt, 27 per cent of whom specified that their debt totalled more than $10,000.To help reduce or eliminate this debt, many students try to take responsibility for their spending and look for various employment opportunities. The survey presented that 30 per cent of students work full time during the summer and part time during the academic year; that 36 per cent work only in the summer; and, 21 per cent work part time year-round, while only 13 per cent do not have any form of employment.