High housing costs and limited living spaces in Calgary are forcing many SAIT students to live with their parents during their post-secondary studies.
An informal survey of students on SAIT campus in September, just after the start of the fall semester, showed that 70 per cent of those interviewed are living at home.
Of those questioned who are still with their families, none were being charged rent to sleep in the basement, or their old rooms.
Those living in rental accommodations, on the other hand, were paying $700-$1,000 per month for a place of their own.
Many of those still with their families wish they could move out, but money is the problem.
“Once I have a steady income I’ll be able to head off,” said Chris Zeglen, a first-year Mechanical Engineering Technologies student, who currently lives at home.
Zeglen works part time as a hockey referee, but does not make enough money to make ends meet on his own.
“My parents do not charge me rent, which I’m very grateful for,” said Zeglen.
Christian Forero, 24, is a student in SAIT’s Culinary Arts program. Due to a chronic health condition, Forero cannot work while he’s at school and relies on his parents for support.
Previously, Forero paid rent but because of his inability to work his parents no longer charge him to stay in their home.
“I have chronic pulmonary embolism,” said Forero. “It’s not ideal, but it could be worse.”
Some SAIT students are living without assistance, such as Jaime Baxter, a first year Architectural Technologies student.
Baxter described looking for a place to rent in Calgary as “a nightmare.” It took a month for her to secure an apartment.
“If you saw a place you wanted, you had to pay the security deposit that day, or else it was gone,” said Baxter.
Adam Hickson, a 29 year old Petroleum Engineering student, lives in an apartment in downtown Calgary. Hickson pays $1,300 a month and lives alone.
“I expected to pay that much for rent,” he said.
Hickson works as a bartender to make ends meet and describes his living situation as “so-so.”
“I get a lot of noise complaints,” said Hickson, who is not fond of apartment living.
Of the students polled, most commuted using transit, or carpooled.
Janelle Mackenzie, a first year Diesel Equipment Technology student, carpools from Millarville, Altaa. with her father, who works at the University of Calgary.
“I was too cheap to rent,” said Mackenzie. “I’m rethinking that now because of the commute.”
Mikayla Coffin, a Hospitality Management student, currently lives with her mother in Strathmore, Alta.
With a long car commute and parking fees, Coffin said that she wants to move to an apartment closer to SAIT campus.
“I was thinking a condo, or whatever is available; as long as it’s not a dump,” said Coffin.
To avoid the stress of commuting and parking fees, some students choose to live on campus.
SAIT has two residence buildings, and both had long waiting lists at the start of the semester.
I was thinking a condo, or whatever is available, as long as it’s not a dump. -Mikayla Coffin.
“[Living in residence] is really good, except when the fire alarm goes off at four in the morning,” said Santana Gitz, a SAIT student.
Residence housing costs between $3,100 and $4,640 per semester. Student Housing encourages students to apply for residency as early as three months in advance. More information on how to apply for residency is available at SAIT’s Student Housing.
SAIT Journalism student Jenn Gardiner contributed to the reporting and writing of this story.