Students Seek Answers on Credit Protection Funding

CASA worries fix for departmental mishap may come at the cost of improving financial assistance in the future

OTTAWA, Jan. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Today HRSDC announced credit protection would be provided, free of charge, for those individuals whose personal information was stored on an external hard-drive that has gone missing from the department. For individuals who are now aware that their information has been compromised, this was very likely welcome news.

"What we are most concerned about in the long run is the implications this unexpected expenditure could have on federal financial assistance for students," said Zachary Dayler, National Director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). "We need to know how much the government expects this to cost, and if it will impact the funding of the financial assistance programs that hundreds of thousands of Canadian students depend on."

At present, very little information has been made available about what costs the government will be responsible for covering. Students are extremely worried that the implications of this coverage could be financially debilitating for the department and student financial assistance in the years to come.

CASA has sent a request to Minister Finley's office for information related to the credit protection service. In the attached letter, CASA outlines its concerns and requests answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the annual cost to the government to cover one individual with credit protection services?
  2. What does the government expect to incur in annual costs for the sum total of credit protection for affected borrowers?
  3. What does the government estimate the maximum annual cost to be for credit protection if provided to all affected borrowers?
  4. Will the government ensure that funding to the Canada Student Loans Program and Canada Student Grants Program will not be affected by any re-allocation of funds to cover the costs of the credit protection service being provided?

CASA believes that the government is doing the right thing by providing credit protection to those affected that request it.

"We understand that mistakes happen," added Dayler. "Accountability is absolutely crucial, but CASA believes that government should ensure this assistance for past borrowers does not come at the expense of those who need to borrow for education today and in the future."

To read the letter sent to Minister Finley in its entirety, click here.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization with 25 member associations, representing 300,000 students across Canada. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, and of the highest quality.

SOURCE: CANADIAN ALLIANCE OF STUDENT ASSOCIATIONS

For further information:

To arrange an interview with Zachary Dayler please contact:
Rob LeForte, Government Relations Officer
O. (613) 236-3457 ext. 221, M. (613) 720-5726
government@casa.ca