CASA unveils an assessment of Canada's student financial aid system



    OTTAWA, Dec. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations has released a 73-page document entitled "Modernizing Canada's
System of Student Financial Assistance," which examines the current student
financial assistance system in Canada. Student financial assistance (SFA)
helps students meet the costs of attending post-secondary institutions, and is
critical to ensuring that a lack of financial resources is not a barrier to
access.
    The comprehensive and holistic paper looks at the programs available to
families and students before, during, and after attending post-secondary
education.
    "We have constructed a framework for student financial assistance which
ensures that post-secondary education in Canada is accessible, affordable, and
of the highest quality," said Zach Churchill, National Director of the
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). "Our intention is for this
paper to provide a number of recommendations about how current programs should
be modified and how new programs should be implemented."
    Amongst other recommendations, this paper calls for increased emphasis on
up-front, targeted grants, rather than tax credits or savings programs used
predominantly by higher-income families.
    The paper also advocates for the renewal of the Canada Millennium
Scholarship Foundation, which is set to expire in 2009. Currently, the
Foundation provides assistance to over 100,000 students each year, making it
responsible for about 30 per cent of all non-repayable grants awarded in
Canada. Eliminating the annual $350 million that the Foundation provides will
have a devastating impact on the accessibility and affordability of a
post-secondary education in Canada.
    The paper concludes by arguing for the establishment of a Pan-Canadian
Accord on post-secondary education. "CASA believes that the federal,
provincial, and territorial governments must work together to improve and
preserve the quality and integrity of our public post-secondary institutions"
said Churchill. Such an accord is essential to minimizing the duplication of
services, and maximizing accessibility and overall efficiency of the student
financial assistance system in Canada.

    For a complete text version of the document, please visit:
http://www.casa.ca/positionpapers.asp

    CASA is committed to ensuring that no qualified student is denied access
to a post-secondary education.

    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: 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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