Debunking the Myth of the Lazy Student
Results of a major survey of post-secondary studentsÂ were released on Thursday.Â The 149-page report, entitled Sources et Modes de Financement des Etudiants the Premier Cycle 2009, was writtenÂ by the FÃ©dÃ©ration Ã©tudiante universitaire du QuÃ©bec (FEUQ).Â It was done in collaboration with LÃ©ger Marketing, who suveyed almost 13,000 undergraduate students in Quebec, spanning 14 different post-secondary institutions in the province.Â According to the report’s authors, this is the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken on living conditions of Quebec undergraduate students.Â
Some of the survey’s major findings:
- Roughly 50% of full-time undergraduate students in Quebec live on less $12,200 per year.Â (This includesÂ any funds from internal and external scholarships, money from co-op programs or internships, government grants or loans, money from family and child support).
- 40% of undergraduate students in Quebec receive no financial assistance whatsoever from their family members.
- More than 80% of full-time undergraduate students are gainfully employed.Â Of those who are gainfully employed, roughly half work more than 15 hours per week.
- Roughly two-thirds of full-time undergraduate students do not live with their parents.
- Just over 20% of full-time undergraduate students who are over the age of 24 have at least one child of their own.
- More than half of full-time undergraduate students receive no financial aid whatsoever.
- RoughlyÂ 57% of full-time undergraduate students in QuebecÂ pay moreÂ than 30%Â of their income on housing. (Note: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation considersÂ a householdÂ to beÂ in “core housing need” ifÂ itÂ cannotÂ findÂ suitable, adequateÂ housing in the local market withoutÂ paying more than 30% ofÂ its income on housing.)
I’m concerned about what the above findingsÂ mean forÂ food security.Â Â I am especially troubled byÂ the $12,200 average annual income figure.Â Â As I’ve written elsewhere, otherÂ recent researchÂ conducted in Canada demonstrates a direct relationship between a household’s income level and its purchase of foods from all groups, particularly fruit, vegetables, and milk.Â This relationship is particularly strong when a household’s annual income is below $15,000.
On the whole, I believe that this new research out of QuebecÂ is important forÂ at least twoÂ reasons.Â First, it debunks the myth of the lazy student.Â Second, it comes as the Charest government is set to increase tuition fees.
There’s a 23-page summary of the report available online, but I’m not aware of an English-language versionÂ of either the full report or summary report as of yet.
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, and is Section Editor of the Canadian Review of Social Policy/Revue canadienne de politique sociale. You can check out his website here: https://nickfalvo.ca/.