Students need to learn to manage their finances

While students should be rightly concerned about escalating tuition fees as a source of concern for their financial wellbeing, it is becoming very clear that students aren’t doing themselves any favours. A recent poll by RBC Royal Bank and Ipsos Reid found that 74 per cent of students do not spend time budgeting their finances for the coming year.

This is an alarming statistic. Even when given adequate financial assistance it is unclear whether students will make best use of the money. What is the point of an OSAP loan if students end up overshooting their optional expenses because they are not tracking their finances?

The results of this poll were also reflected in a financial literacy test conducted by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) in which 75 per cent of students failed.

This is an unacceptable situation. The Province of Ontario needs to take a serious look at including financial literacy in secondary school curriculum. Furthermore, student organizations such as CASA and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) need to explore the possibility of educating students on the importance of budgeting and maintaining proper personal finances.

The CFS in particular could divert some of the money it uses to sue student associations for voicing opposition to the organization’s tactics, to teaching financial literacy sessions. It’s an easy way to help students deal with the cards they are dealt most effectively.

We strongly encourage all parties to look at all options to help remedy the situation, including students themselves, who should begin being fiscally conscious of their finances now so they can be adequately prepared to budget later on in their lives.