OTTAWA, Nov. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Students are calling on the newly elected Liberal government to reform and reinvest in Canada's student financial aid system. The current system of student financial assistance fails to maximize on the impact of allocated public dollars by investing in ineffective programs. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has published a policy paper calling on the federal government to improve financial aid and reinvest in programs that have the most impact in supporting students.
"The federal government is the single largest source of funding for public financial aid for post-secondary students in Canada", said Erik Queenan, Board Chair for CASA. Despite spending over $4 billion on financial assistance, Government's support is directed at programs that proportionally reward students from high-income backgrounds over middle to low-income backgrounds.
CASA calls on the Liberal government to support a financial aid system that uses the most progressive and effective policies to support equal access for all students by removing financial barriers and tackling high debt levels. It recommends the following:
- Eliminate the current system of tax credits, and reallocate the $1.7 billion in funding towards an expansion of the current Canada Student Grants and Loans Programs;
- Restrict public financial support for private for-profit institutions that have high student loan default rates and offer low-value programs;
- Increase enrolment in the Canada Learning Bond program from 30% to 100% for low-income youth.
"Currently, we see that the most effective programs in financial aid are the least funded. As such, equitable policy changes in financial aid have the ability to positively affect students across the country", said Queenan. By putting CASA's recommendations into action, the government can ensure higher education be accessible and affordable to anyone furthering their academic and professional endeavours.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 22 student associations representing 256,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
SOURCE Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
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