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Student loan system doesn’t support students

I have always wondered why the Government of Canada commercials on our TV screens support students going to university, and the Canada Student Loan system does not support full-time students, not lending enough money for basic living expenses.

I am a full-time student at Saint Thomas University, and for the past 2 years, I have struggled right up until now with no financial options left, living off of an $850/month living allowance for the school year that is $300 a month short of covering all the basic necessities I and other full-time students need to survive on, causing us to apply for bursaries, having to go to churches for food vouchers on a regular basis.

During the summer months when I am not attending class, I work a full-time minimum wage job, paying me $1,200 a month after taxes and deductions. $1,200 monthly is only enough to cover my rent, cell phone, internet, power and groceries, nothing more. I cannot save any money on $1,200 a month working a full-time minimum wage job, but at least it is enough to cover all my basic survival necessities so I do not need to ask anyone for help as I am pleading right now.

Did you know that Canada Student Loans has not increased their monthly living allowance for full-time students over the past 10 years?

A journalist from CBC News who does not want their name to be mentioned sent me this from Canada Student Loans:“Thank you for the request. The student loan maximums of $210/week of study (federal) and $140/week of study (provincial) have been the same over the past 10 years.”

If the maximum amount is $210 a week federal, and $140 a week provincial, why am I not receiving a maximum of $1,400 a month to cover my basic survival necessities while going to school full-time as a broke independent student? We students should be allowed to focus on doing our best in school while studying, not fighting to survive.

I have gone to Canada Student Loans and appealed for more funds: I got rejected. I went to the Saint Thomas Emergency Bursary Committee: I got rejected. I went to The Royal Canadian Legion because I used to be in the military serving my country: I got rejected

I would not be writing this letter if Canada Student Loans lent out an extra $300 a month to full-time students, money that has to be paid back anyway. I have been told that I will not owe as much money to student loans when I graduate because of a low living allowance; this may be true, but if I am out on the street with no fixed address, how will I graduate to pay the money back?

This letter is not just about me, it is about standing up and fighting for us students, all us students that just can’t seem to get ahead no matter what we do.

-Joseph Keefe

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1 Comment

  1. KayeMcGee Reply

    Hey Joseph I hear you! I was told student loans are set up with the traditional student in mind and it’s expected that family will help you out. Mature students (and many, many traditional students too) do not have this benefit so are left out in the cold. Student loans do not cover any extraordinary costs (such as the $3056 I had to pay for my father’s cremation) so sometimes even the maximum doesn’t cut it. The administration would rather stick their heads in the sand than address the issue. A prime example of this is how STU does not offer mature students the opportunity to apply for entrance scholarships which other universities do. In fact, I transferred to another university which is using my grades at STU as the basis for my entrance scholarship application which guarantees me a sizable scholarship. Keep trying Joe, you can’t give up on your education; your future is out there somewhere and frankly, it’s STU’s loss.

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