Students call on government to reduce student debt ahead of federal budget

OTTAWA, March 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The Alternative Federal Budget, released earlier today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, puts forward concrete measures for addressing Canada's student debt crisis.

"Record-high levels of student debt and high youth unemployment threaten Canada's long-term prosperity," said Jessica McCormick, National Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Investing in post-secondary education ensures a more equitable society for future generations."

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and its member organizations, including the Canadian Federation of Students, use the federal government's current fiscal framework to create a budget that reflects the priorities of Canadians. Students propose four specific budget steps to make post-secondary education more affordable:

  1. Create a new dedicated cash transfer aimed at reducing tuition fees;
  2. Cut student debt in half by increasing the value and number of up-front, non-repayable grants;
  3. Remove the funding cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support  Program to meet the needs of all First Nations students; and
  4. Increase federal granting agencies' base budgets and increase the  number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to maintain independent, public  research.

"Funding public post-secondary education is critical to reducing socioeconomic inequalities and meeting the demands of an evolving labour market," added McCormick. "We urge the federal government to take immediate action to reduce the up-front barriers to post-secondary education."

The Alternative Federal Budget can be downloaded from www.cfs-fcee.ca or www.policyalternatives.ca.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Federation and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Jessica McCormick, National Deputy Chairperson, 613-232-7394


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