Student leaders are pleading for federal budget assistance, fearful of long-term pandemic repercussions.

Canadian Student
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According to economists, there is a ‘real potential’ to boost post-secondary funding.

Finishing her final semester at Simon Fraser University is bittersweet for Osob Mohamed. Despite the satisfaction of finishing her health sciences degree, she is concerned about what lies ahead for her during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s getting a little grimmer, I suppose,” the Surrey, British Columbia resident said.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Canadian post-secondary students hard, disrupting their education and limiting their work opportunities. Student leaders and policy analysts are urging them to receive more funding in next week’s federal budget, warning that if they are not, long-term consequences will follow.

They’ve spoken about the challenges they’re having, such as navigating the seismic changes to online learning, paying high tuition fees that have stayed constant or increased through the pandemic, stressing about having enough money to pursue their education, and taking on precarious part-time jobs.

According to StatsCan’s March 2021 Labour Force Survey, the youth unemployment rate dropped steadily last summer and autumn, but then soared to 19.9% this January as a result of a new wave of lockdowns and closures.