Inequities in the post-secondary education system 

Over 1.7 million students in Canada have a student loan. On average, one debtor owes at least $26,075. All of these student debts in the country combined are at least $18 billion.

Student loans have increasingly come to be seen as a diversity, equity and inclusion issue because student debt is disproportionately held by women and people of colour.

What are the long-term impacts of student loans?

Marginalized and underrepresented employees are starting their careers with larger debts to repay, which delays major life milestones, such as buying a home, building retirement savings, and accumulating wealth. To pay off their student loans, some even focus on the pay of their work, instead of applying for a job that is a better match with their interests and offers the best long-term career development opportunities.

Read about the student debt crisis in Canada and its impacts on students.

Meet Aysha Akhtar

Aysha Akhtar is a first-year master’s student at McMaster University where she studies a program that examines the impact ageing has on societies around the world. Her passion for mental health advocacy motivated her to apply despite her student loan debt that has been accruing since her undergraduate years. She already knows that the first 10 to 15 years after she graduates will be spent paying back her student loans.

Read about Aysha’s experience