Lethbridge post-secondary student groups concerned about rising costs – Lethbridge



The post-secondary academic year is up and running and for many students, the return of classes is bringing financial stress along with it.

Just days into the fall semester, student groups at both Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge are already getting requests about their support programs.

“We’ve actually had quite a few students come by and ask us about our food pantry,” said Celine Gilbert, vice-president of operations and finance for the Lethbridge College Students’ Association (LCSA).

While the interest is starting earlier, the demand isn’t surprising the LCSA after last yea’s surge.

“We almost doubled in numbers from years prior of how many students are using these services,” Gilbert said.

“It’s been an ongoing issue where you can’t afford to pay for your rent for this month, then also to buy groceries,” University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU) president Maleeka Thomas said.

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A number of costs are more expensive in 2023, with a one-bedroom apartment in Lethbridge up 6.1 per cent year-over-year according to Rentals.ca, while tuition at both the university and college has increased by about $1,000 since the 2020-21 academic year.

“Relatively speaking, we’re still, I would say, middle of the pack to the lower extreme,” Lethbridge College registrar Marko Hilgersom said.

But it’s a different bill that stands out above the rest for student Rachel CrowSpreadingWings.

“The cost of food is skyrocketing,” CrowSpreadingWings said.

Both the LCSA and ULSU offer food pantries for students in need to try and offset some costs. But with more people using the service, the stock isn’t stretching as far as it used to, impacting program sustainability throughout the semester.

“We’re so worried that we’ll probably run out of ways to help students in terms of the funding that we have for that budget,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping to do some fundraising and see how best we can help more students.”

Help that is sure to be needed if the early demand is any indication of the academic year ahead.

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