Finances are a source of stress for many students. Working while studying can help provide financial security, but it’s not always consistent with the time you need to devote to your studies. Moving houses or to another country to study can also affect your finances.

Financial stress occurs when we worry about our current financial situation and/or debt level. This emotion can change as circumstances improve or deteriorate. Like any source of stress, financial difficulties can alter the general state of the person experiencing them: insomnia, fatigue, headaches, reduced or increased appetite, anxiety, depression, etc. That’s why it’s so important to have a basic understanding of financial matters, so you can avoid finding yourself in financially difficult situations. 

Strategies to prevent financial stress

By becoming aware of your financial health, you can make changes to reduce or remedy these negative effects. If your financial situation is causing stress and preventing you from functioning normally, you can contact your school’s financial aid department or your banking institution to assess your options and get advice.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to review our priorities, eliminate superfluous expenses and make wise lifestyle choices. In short , make a budget and stick to it! You can ask yourself the following questions for a clearer picture:

  • Is using or buying a car essential? Can I use a bicycle, the public transit or carpooling instead?
  • Can I shop around more when buying insurance?
  • Can I cook more at home and plan meals for long study days?
  • Can I buy used equipment?
  • Can I apply for government financial aid (various loans and grants and allowances)
  • Can I join a program that alternates study and employment in your field of study.
  • Is it possible or réalistic to find a part-time job on campus or remotely ?

Financial aid for studies

The Quebec government’s student financial assistance programs are designed to make post-secondary education more accessible to Quebec students who are less well-off or who live in remote areas. These programs provide financial loans to help pay for full-time or part-time studies. The amount loaned is based on certain calculations and conditions. They are advantageous because they do not require repayment until graduation, and even allow an additional 6 months to start repayment.

Borrowing to reduce financial stress? Yes, but…

Credit is a loan from a financial institution. In the short term, it can relieve you of certain expenses and take away some of your stress. But sooner or later, you’re going to have to pay it back, and if you don’t, it’s going to be that much more stressful! In 2021, researchers conducted a study to take stock of post-secondary student debt in Quebec. The findings confirm that debt helps students access their studies and balance work and family… but it can also delay life plans and generate stress.


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Actives Minds. (2022) Managing Financial Stress: Tips for College Students – Active Minds

Chaire-réseau de recherche sur la jeunesse. (2021) L’endettement étudiant. Les enjeux jeunesse en images.

Gouvernement du Canada. (2019)  Le stress financier et ses impacts 

Gouvernement du Québec.  Aide financière aux études

Université Laval.


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Illustration : Mario Fontaine

Contribution to the article : Isabelle Queval, psychologist

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