A financial cooperative that is here for students
Posted on Wednesday October 06, 2021
A financial cooperative that is here for students
The pandemic has turned the lives of a large majority of the population upside down, and students are no exception. How is the start of the 2021 school year different from pre-pandemic school years? What stresses has the virus added to the situtations of post-secondary students? And what steps is UNI taking to support them financially during this time of uncertainty?
We discuss this with Yanick Chiasson, a student in business administration - specializing in accounting - at the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB). He worked with UNI this summer as an intern.
The pandemic: Still a fact of life on campuses
Yanick began his studies at CCNB in the midst of the pandemic in the fall of 2020. "It's been a whole year of change!" While public health measures had a sobering effect on the motivation of some students, Yanick found many positives. "At home, I had fewer distractions, which helped my concentration. Of course, having less contact with professors and other students made it difficult at times, but with good management and organization, everything is fine. I had no trouble disciplining myself."
That is a good thing, because social distancing and online methods seem to be here to stay, at least for a while. "CCNB is planning a hybrid year: partly at home and partly in the classroom. When there physically, social distancing is maintained, masks are worn, and vaccinations will be mandatory for all students starting October 15."
Finances: One of the main concerns of students for the start of the 2021 school year
Yanick, who did his internship at UNI in youth marketing, can attest to the fact that money is a common stress factor when talking to other students. "What I've heard from students and schools is that the financial aspect of things brings a lot of anxiety. Students have lost their jobs, or their hours have been cut, and tuition fees remain just as high. Last year, they had access to a lot of financial assistance from governments, but now some programs have ended, and many are wondering how they will pay for their education or support themselves. Student debt is substantial. People are more worried this year," he says.
For his part, he considers himself lucky, as he is one of those who don’t have to juggle a student job during the school year. "I worked before the school year started. I can only allow myself to work during the summer so that I can focus solely on my studies during the semester." That is not the case for all of his classmates.
Financial solutions adapted to students' needs
As the situation for students has changed, the assistance provided to support them must keep pace with these changes. At UNI, adapting to the new daily lives of students is a priority.
"Since I was in charge of the student component of the post-secondary school year during my internship, I was put in touch with almost every institution in New Brunswick," Yanick says. "We wanted to know what the back-to-school process would be like at each location. Most of them are still considering offering some of their education virtually, so instead of going to campuses and holding events like we used to, we had to find new ways to be present and available to students."
Contests, scholarships and personalized support
One of the contests is for post-secondary students to win $1,000. Young people can enter the contest on our website. "Other contests are also coming up. We also have a scholarship program that we are promoting to students so they can take advantage of it. All accounts are free of transaction fees for the duration of their studies, and we offer credit such as a line of credit and credit card which are adapted to the student reality. Tools are also available online, such as a budgeting guide, and advisors are available to answer any questions."
UNI: A partner for worry-free studies
As Yanick witnessed during his internship, UNI offers assistance to students that is second to none. "Because it's a co-op, its primary goal is to give more than it receives and to support students rather than sell them a product. And that's reflected in what I hear around me. Over the two months of my internship, many representatives and students confided in us that they trusted UNI because they knew we were there to help them."
5 quick personal questions:
Now that Yanick is back in school, we asked him a few rapid-fire questions!
- What motivated you to choose your area of study?
I chose business administration, majoring in accounting, because I've always had an interest in entrepreneurship and math. So, business and accounting tie in with both of these interests.
- Do you have any plans that you really want to achieve?
To purchase a home and a vehicle.
- Which of UNI’s values do you personally connect with?
It's important to me to give back and to help others. I connect really closely to the whole cooperative aspect.
- Why do you think young people should open an account with UNI?
Because UNI is there for students, and that doesn't stop once they graduate. It will always continue to be there, throughout their life's journey. UNI will listen to you or help with your plans, no matter what they are.
- If you had to describe UNI in three words, what would they be?
Community, integrity, solidarity.