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Students hit by record youth unemployment, assistance cuts

Summer job dearth for 15 to 24 year olds breaks all previous records.

Katherine Giroux-Bougard is national chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Studentsby CAUT Bulletin

Students continue to be among those hardest hit by the recession, facing record unemployment rates, rising tuition fees in Canada's six largest provinces and cuts to student assistance.

Statistics Canada reports that the unemployment rate for students aged 15 to 24 climbed to 20.9 percent in July, breaking all previous records. Across the broader economy, job losses were almost entirely concentrated among summer students, with more than 150,000 jobs disappearing since July 2008.

"Students who have been unable to find summer work will be forced to take on more debt and may be unable to afford to return to school this fall," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Summer jobs are not a luxury; they pay the bills."

More than one-third of college and university students are concerned they will run out of money by the end of the fall semester, an Ipsos Reid poll showed in August.

"Students are in dire circumstances," Giroux-Bougard said. "Many will not be able to make ends meet."

According to the survey, 80 percent of students plan to work during the coming year. Seventy-five per cent viewed finding work as essential to being able to afford to continue their education, while the same number said working will have a negative effect on their studies.

Tuition fees are the single largest expense for most college and university students, with average fees at almost $5,000 a year. The tuition situation will take a turn for the worse, Giroux-Bougard said, as most provinces will be increasing tuition fees this fall.

"By increasing tuition fees in a time of economic crisis, provincial governments are failing students, and, despite the recession and a dismal job market, the federal government has failed to increase funding for student financial aid and take action to reduce tuition fees," she said. "By not moving to reduce students debt government has ignored an essential part of economic recovery."

For more information, please click on the link below:

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  A Bleak Outlook for Students, CAUT Bulletin, September 2009

Posted: October 05, 2009

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