Average Western Student Prepares To Graduate With $ 24,000 In Debt | New
A Western survey of graduate students shows that the average graduate student has about $ 24,000 in debt.
The survey, conducted during the 2019-2020 school year, collected responses from graduate students on the amount of education-related debt they expect to graduate with and sources of financial assistance, among others.
The survey divides responses by faculty, with all undergraduate schools represented as well as Western University’s Faculty of Law and Medicine.
Across all faculties, 39.5% of students expected to graduate without education debt. If we exclude graduate students without any debt related to their education, the average Western student graduates with approximately $ 40,000 in debt.
According to Western, the questionnaire was distributed in April and May 2020 to 5,747 graduates, of which 2,080 responded to the survey. The survey recognizes the limitation that exists within this sample, but also indicates that the results are able to reveal general trends in student experiences.
Of all undergraduate schools, business students had the highest percentage reporting that they graduated with more than $ 100,000 in debt, at 3.3%. Almost 43 percent of business students said they expected to graduate debt free. The companies surveyed are likely students of the Ivey Business School, as the Faculty of Social Sciences encompasses the BMOS program, although Western was unable to confirm this.
On average, business students graduated with debt of $ 22,667. Vin Venkatesh, a fourth-year student at Ivey, said the numbers did not surprise her.
“One of the biggest issues at Ivey is that when you get into the program, you realize right off the bat that there is a huge wealth gap between the students,” Venkatesh said. “[The fact that] Some 40 percent graduate debt-free, shocking because tuition is $ 25,200, per year … over $ 100,000 in debt.
In contrast, the average student in the Faculty of Information and Media Sciences graduates with a debt of $ 8,882, the lowest average in the survey.
According to Venkatesh, the wealth gap between Ivey students is evident not only in the level of indebtedness of graduates, but also in the extracurricular activities organized by groups of students.
“People who can afford some of Ivey’s extracurriculars like the… Blue Mountain trip, Ivey formal, Ivey semi-formal, all of these events cost over $ 50 to $ 100, some several hundred dollars. You can see who can afford it and who can’t. So, I think it is very visible on a daily basis in class who comes from what background and who is not.
The survey also describes the sources of financial assistance that students receive throughout their undergraduate careers. More than 59 percent of students surveyed in Ivey said their main source of financial assistance was money received from parents that they did not have to repay.
Like Venkatesh, fifth-year student Komal Patel wasn’t surprised by this.
“In Ivey there are a lot of people who are quite wealthy and could have their parents paying for their degree… And that’s great for them, but it’s also pretty obvious that it’s a pretty big part of people, ”said Patel, who is completing a double degree Ivey and medical sciences program. “We talk to Ivey so much about inclusion and diversity and everything and that’s really good but it would be better if [administration] sort of put their money where their mouth is.
According to Patel, this is also a problem inherent in the medical sciences curriculum.
“Going to medical school, which is the aspiration of a lot of people in the medical sciences, is usually something that happens for people from more affluent backgrounds. They’ve had the exposure and the ability to participate in research programs that maybe don’t pay that much over the course of a summer, but you get the experience you need for something like medical school.
According to the survey, 46.1 percent of medical science students said they expected to graduate debt-free and 43.8 percent said their parents were their main source of financial assistance.
Patel also noted that her decision not to pursue medical school was in part influenced by the high tuition fees which she knew would increase her student debt as a result of enrolling in a five-year undergraduate program – and payment of tuition fees to Ivey.
Western Medical School survey data reflects the significant cost associated with medical school, with 53.3 percent of medical school respondents saying they expected to get more than $ 100,000 of debts.
Nicole Foster, a third year nursing student, is currently pursuing her second bachelor’s degree after earning a bachelor of science in 2019. In order to help her pay off her student loan debt for the two degrees, Foster has held two jobs for over two years. from school.
“[Working] Definitely helps pay off the loan, but it’s the first semester I’ve had five classes and it’s a heavy workload, ”said Foster. “I’m pretty busy all the time.
Although Foster works 20 to 30 hours a week, she has also taken out loans from the Ontario Student Assistance Program and receives help from her family.
Venkatesh, Patel, and Foster all aim to pay off their loans within three years or less of graduation.