Recessions mean students need a plan

Young people are at an increased risk during economic downturns

Students have limited finances in the best of times. A recession requires further financial consideration. Photo: Rena Medow
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Reported by Rena Medow

In a slowing economy primed for a recession, students will need to create back-up plans in case they cannot find stable work, such as moving back in with their parents, says a Langara economics instructor.

According to economics instructor, Bryan Breguet, in the case of a recession, the government will likely be far less generous with forms of post-secondary support for students.

“Make sure that you could always move back to your parents and get more savings. But at the end of the day, it’s out of your control if the economy collapses,” Breguet said. “You can’t buy recession insurance.”

In the Government of Canada’s annual federal budget released on March 19, several measures were taken to make college more affordable and accessible for students, including lowering the interest rate for student loans and making the grace period interest-free.

A recession is when the growth rate of the monetary value of a country’s goods and services is negative for two consecutive quarters or more.

Young people affect disproportionally

“Young people are the most affected by recession, because they will be the first to get fired,” Breguet said about students with part-time jobs and recent grads. “If we need to downsize in a company, the last one in will be the first one out.”

Some Langara students are already preparing for a possible recession. Jasleen Kaur Sarpal, who is completing a degree in financial management, minimizes her expenses to maximize her income.

“You can spend less on yourself like for dressing, buy less clothes, but it doesn’t apply to eating. You can’t minimize your eating,” Kaur Sarpal said.

Recessions lead many to the classroom

According to the dean of continuing studies, Daniel Thorpe, there’s been significant growth in domestic enrolment in three of the last four years, and some growth in all four.

“Students enrol when the job market weakens, and are too busy working to take upgrading training when the job market is booming,” Thorpe said.

Daman Bains is studying criminology at Langara and already has a job, but she’s taking classes in case her job doesn’t work out long term. She is part of a trend of students who enrol in college in a precarious economy.

“Stop eating out. Have a target like $100 for two weeks,” Bains said.

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