Statistics Canada releases survey about impact of COVID-19 on post-secondary students

Survey reveals 47 per cent of respondents concerned about financial ability to return to school in the fall

Statistics Canada released the survey results on May 12.
Statistics Canada

A recent Statistics Canada survey has confirmed students are worried about their studies, financial situations, and jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between April 19 and May 1, more than 100,000 post-secondary students across Canada participated in the survey to share how they’d been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Canada released the survey results on May 12.

Addressing employment concerns, the survey revealed many students have experienced labour market disruptions. 

While 48 per cent of students surveyed who had jobs prior to the outbreak of the pandemic in March reported they’d lost their jobs or been temporarily laid off, 49 per cent of those who had job prospects in March said they’d lost upcoming employment opportunities.

The survey also revealed that 68 per cent of students surveyed are “very” or “extremely” concerned about depleting their savings and 67 per cent are concerned about having no job prospects for the near future.

As a result, 51 per cent of respondents believe they will have difficulty paying for tuition next term and keeping up with other bills and payments. 

Another primary concern is the overall ability to return to school in the fall term, with 47 per cent of respondents reporting they’re worried about being unable to pay for school. 

Regarding the academic impacts of COVID-19, the survey results show many students had academic work delayed, postponed, or cancelled. 

In the survey, 92 per cent of respondents said some or all of their courses were moved online, with 10 per cent reporting they were unable to complete some or all courses in the winter term.

Thirty-five per cent of respondents had planned work placements delayed or cancelled.

To help alleviate some of the financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government announced approximately $9 billion in financial aid for students on April 22.

The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May to August, and $2,000 for students responsible for taking care of another individual or those who have a permanent disability.

Students who take on a volunteer position can earn between $1,000 and $5,000 in compensation from the Canada Student Service Grant, depending on how many hours they work in the summer period. 

If they meet the necessary qualifications for more than one of these benefits, it’s possible for students to receive a combination of benefits.

The government also proposed changes to the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements in 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify for support in the form of grants and loans. 

They are doubling student grants for eligible students, offering up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students. The maximum weekly amount for loans provided through the program has also been raised from $210 to $350 for the next academic year.

Despite the federal government initially stating applications for the CESB would become available through Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on May 1, they were not released until May 15.

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