Bill 253: Misses the boat on low-income support



    OTTAWA, March 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Last week, Bill-253, brought forth by
Liberal MP Dan McTeague, was successfully passed in the House of Commons.
Despite the bill's proposal of a savings plan for families and students, the
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is discouraged that the
government is relying on tax breaks and incentives to fund post-secondary
education.
    The bill, if passed into law, would allow parents to contribute up to
$5,000 annually to a Registered Education Savings Plan for each child - and
deduct the amount from their income taxes.
    "It is important to recognize that the students who will benefit the most
will be those from high-income and middle-income backgrounds," said Zach
Churchill, National Director of CASA. "This bill will provide additional
support to students whose parents have the money to save for their child's
post-secondary education; students who are already participating in our
post-secondary system."
    The proposed program, which could cost the federal treasury almost
$1 billion annually, will not be helpful for low-income students. Low-income
students and families do not have the dispensable income to invest in savings
programs, and they are likely not making enough money for the tax benefit to
be useful to them in the first place.
    "Despite the fact that saving helps to ensure that students will incur
less debt upon graduation, the government must acknowledge that if we are
trying to create more opportunity for students, then we need to provide
upfront funding and outreach that is targeted to students who are currently
underrepresented in our post-secondary system. This is notably, low-income
students, rural students, aboriginal students, students with disabilities, and
first generation learners," concluded Churchill.
    CASA holds that any financial aid package that comes from the federal or
provincial governments cannot be the end of government involvement in
post-secondary education. It needs to be a part of a national vision and
strategy for post secondary education that not only ensures that our system is
accessible to all students, but also affordable, innovative, and of the
highest quality.

    CASA is a not-for-profit national student organization, offering
progressive, common sense education reform solutions.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jillian Flake, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance
of Student Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, (c) 613-868-6605,
casacomm@casa.ca

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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