Is your current financial situation stressing you out?
If yes, then head on over to a financial literacy event happening this week on campus.
On Wednesday, Nov. 22, Roots4Change (R4C) is hosting a free in-person financial literacy event. It aims to improve and empower the financial knowledge of current students — even students transitioning into their post-graduate life.
Some of the event’s topics include the importance of building a good credit score, how to make investments, how to leverage student loans, and how to build wealth through personal finance. Along with featuring keynote speakers, the event will have free food and drinks and finance games.
“All of these topics serve to build a solid financial basis for students to grow their financial literacy and if applied, could improve their financial situation,” says R4C.
When asked about the biggest financial problems facing York students, R4C says it has to do with credit — how it works and how to use credit-related products.
“A good amount of the students (mainly first years) we talked to did not have a credit card (meaning they weren’t actively building a credit score to help them in the future),” they explain.
“Almost 90 per cent of the students we talked to who had student loans (OSAP) did not know some important aspects of their student loans (OSAP). Furthermore, those same students did not have a strategy to pay off their student loans once they entered repayment,” adds R4C.
R4C says the event will have keynote speakers from Alterna Bank to discuss the importance of credit and how to improve one’s credit score. The event will also cover student loans as credit products and aspects related to OSAP that may be unfamiliar to students.
R4C emphasizes that student financial empowerment is crucial, especially in 2023. The group shares several examples of this ongoing problem.
An article from CBC News states that “1.9 million Canadians owed the federal government a total of $23.5 billion in student loans as of July 2022.” The article also mentions that tuition fees are 13 times greater now than they were 50 years ago.
Additionally, R4C cites a paper published in April by Canadian Science Publishing, which analyzes the financial struggles currently impacting Canadian graduate students.
In its abstract, the paper said the majority of graduate students face financial concerns, mainly due to stagnant funding from federal and provincial grant agencies — it also said the situation is “even worse for international students.”
The paper’s key findings highlight that during their graduate studies, 85.7 per cent of respondents expressed anxiety and stress about their finances. An additional 54.7 per cent reported that they had experienced difficulties with budgeting. As a result of financial struggles, 30.7 per cent of respondents reported to have considered leaving their studies altogether.
R4C is a ratified student group at York and helps students pursue their dreams, hobbies, and talents through networking opportunities for people in and outside the university community.
“We are a student group focused on improving students’ experiences at York in two ways: one way is by tackling the major issues students are facing or stressing over. The other way is by fostering a friendly and social community among students which allows them to build meaningful relationships and experiences,” says R4C.
As well, the group provides several finance tips, suggesting that students should immerse themselves in literature, activities, and games to learn about budgeting, investing, and credit.
“Games like Cashflow 101 are a perfect example of a game that does just that, which is why we will be playing it at the event. Books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Richest Man in Babylon and Think and Grow Rich are great pieces of literature that also do that, which is why we are giving them out as prizes at the event,” adds R4C.
More information about R4C and their other activities and events can be found here.