News stories, such as The Cost of a Canadian University Education in Six Charts and University tuition fees in Canada rise 40 per cent in a decade, remind us about the high cost of attending university or college in this country, and the effect debt can have on students and their families. For example, in its Student Debt Crisis – A Generation Buried in Student Debt report, bankruptcy trustees Hoyes Michalos revealed that nearly 18 per cent of the insolvency filings it handled in 2018 involved student debt. The Globe and Mail put a face to these statistics when it published a 2017 story about a graduate who struggled to pay off her $20,000 college debt while working at a job that paid $24,000 per year.
The education debt trend—and the students it impacts—is evident across Canada. Post-secondary professionals at York University and the University of Toronto in Ontario, for instance, expressed alarm in a Globe and Mail article about the mental health impact from education-related debt. The Vancouver Sun reported that B.C. students work more, owe more than other Canadian students in their attempt to stay ahead financially.
Alongside these reports are an increasing number of articles about textbook costs (UNB students pay as much as $340 per textbook, B.C. students say they are #textbookbroke) and the role open textbooks can play in ameliorating this trend. (See Cash-strapped Alberta students leading a push for open textbooks and Open textbooks provide big savings and benefits for Camosun students.)