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Students sound alarm on skyrocketing cost of living

The low vacancy rates in Halifax's south end are forcing students to live further away from their schools
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University of King's College (Meghan Groff/

As back to school nears, students at colleges and universities across Nova Scotia are hoping for a much different experience from last year.

Lydia Houck, executive director of Students Nova Scotia, tells NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show that most courses will be on-campus and in-person while online courses still remain an option.

The central issue facing students ahead of the school year is the lack of housing available on the peninsula.

Houck said finding affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire for students coming to study in the province.

While she said it's no surprise that Halifax is experiencing a housing crisis, the low vacancy rates in the city's south end are forcing students to live further away from their schools. 

"Beyond simply the supply, we've seen the costs of living both on and off-campus continuing to skyrocket, particularly with students who might have had challenges finding employment this summer and last summer," she said. "That cost is a lot steeper than it normally would have been."

For courses delivered online this fall, Houck said she hopes instructors can find innovative ways to engage students with more than just a PowerPoint or pre-recorded lecture.

"We definitely saw last year the quality of education was impacted," Houck said. "A lot of students felt like they weren't getting the same experience as they would in person."

One way to further preserve the learning environment in a virtual setting, Houck said, is through open educational resources, which are available in a number of formats online that provide a more accessible learning experience.

Students at most post-secondary institutions in the province will be required to provide proof of vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated will be required to take two COVID-19 tests per week.

Houck said the organization supports the public health guidelines being implemented by post-secondary institutions across the province and hopes both on-campus testing and immunization clinics can take place for students. 

Students Nova Scotia is an organization representing more than 20,000 post-secondary students across the province, advocating to the provincial government on issues impacting students in the province. 

About the Author: Stephen Wentzell

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