Photo cred - OCAD University
Toronto is a city filled with students, yet, living here when you're in university or college certainly isn't easy. Rent, tuition, and transportation are all major problems for the students of Toronto, though they really shouldn't be.
We think Toronto can cater to its student population in a much better manner. Students shouldn't be cast aside because they don't have a ton of money or wear suits, they should be praised and given special rates to ensure they can complete their degree worry free.
Hopefully, some of these changes occur sooner rather than later.
Photo cred - Chris Lee
More Affordable Rent
Student life isn't cheap. Between managing living expenses and paying off tuition fees, students already have a tough go of it financially. The fact that it is so difficult to find affordable housing, particularly in the downtown area, where most of the city's universities are located, adds an unnecessary burden on their shoulders. A stronger focus on reducing rent in Toronto would go a long way to fix that. In the meantime, the establishing of an affordable student housing system would relieve some of this burden.
Better student discounts for public transit
Compared to many other major cities in North America, the TTC student discount for metropasses is negligible. Considering the vast size of this city, more consideration should be taken into making these passes accessible. Most full-time students don't have full-time jobs, and this should be taken into consideration when determining the price they have to pay to get to and from school.
More bike lanes
Those who choose to use other means of transportation to school should be given the facilities to do so. Cycling is a highly efficient and cost effective way to travel, and great steps would be made to easing students' lives if Toronto were made more bike friendly. A huge part of this is increasing the amount of bike lanes available, so students commuting on bikes can get further more quickly. One need only look to Montreal to see how well a bike friendly city services its student population.
More student-oriented, free city events
When you're not studying, it's nice to be able to let off some steam. And ideally, doing that shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Many other cities are able to provide their residents with free, high quality cultural events. Wouldn't it be awesome if Toronto had more things like that too? I imagine a lot of students would love to be able to have some fun on the weekend that ended in more hangovers, and less weeping over their online bank statements.
Higher student discounts for cultural and educational institutions
If getting an education and enriching one's mind are the goals of going to university and college, it would make sense to make Toronto's museums and galleries more accessible to students who want or need to do just that outside of class! Free admission nights for students once every few weeks at these institutions would do a lot to make full-time education what it's meant to be.
Photo cred - Brent Granby
Safe, accessible, separated bike lanes
On a related note, travelling to school should not be hazardous. There's a lot of traffic in this city, and people riding on bikes have so little protecting them from the cars around them. A great way to deal with this is giving the bike lanes we have more of their own designated space. Give cyclists a little breathing room!
More accessible loan and bursary programs
The municipal and provincial governments provide a wide range of loans and bursaries to help students through their time in school. The problem is that these programs are not always readily available to students, and many of them go unused because people just don't know where to look for them. More effort should be made to educate students about their student-aid options, so that those who need the help can take it.
Government subsidized student employment initiatives
Many of the issues touched upon in this article are focused on finances, and how could they not be? University and college are a time when you're spending a lot of money, and making very little of it. There should be more government funded student employment practices in place to ensure that those who need to are able to find jobs to subsidize their lives until they finish school.
More efficient public transit
Students who choose to take public transit should be able to count on it getting them where they need to be when they need to be there. Train and bus delays and breakdowns make life for students, as well as other commuters, much more stressful than it needs to be. If more effort is made to improve the TTC's efficiency, students would have one less thing to worry about, and can focus that little bit more on their studies.
More accessible public transit
For students going to schools like Humber and York, the commute can take an unreasonable amount of time. Subway systems, or at the very least, more efficient bus paths should be set up leading towards these schools. The fact that major Toronto institutions aren't properly covered by the TTC is a problem, and these students are the ones bearing the burden.
Photo cred – Kazwitkos