OTTAWA, March 22, 2016 /CNW/ - Students are pleased to see the Liberal budget making substantial investments in non-repayable grants for post-secondary students, youth jobs and public research, but are disheartened that there is no commitment of additional funding to Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).
"From ballooning student debt loads to poor job prospects, students made the 2015 federal election about the future of our generation and, by extension, the future of our country," said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Students became a powerful political force during the last election, and the promises made and delivered to us in this budget are proof of that."
The highlights of the federal budget for students and youth include:
- A 50 per cent increase in Canada Student Grants, bringing the maximum grants from $2000 to $3000 for low-income students; $800 to $1200 for middle-income students; and $1200 to $1800 for part-time students.
- Raising the loan repayment income threshold under the Repayment Assistance Program from $20,210 to $25,000.
- Committing $95 million towards public research.
- An additional $2 billion over three years for a Post-Secondary Strategic Investment Fund to support research and infrastructure renewal.
- An additional $165 million towards the Youth Employment Strategy.
However, the budget does not commit to lifting the 2 per cent funding cap on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for Indigenous students. Although over $8 billion in spending for Indigenous communities is laid out in the budget, this crucial program for post-secondary students has been left out, despite being an explicit Liberal Party promise during the election.
"Supporting post-secondary Indigenous learners is not only economically smart for Canada, but morally required as part of our commitment to truth and reconciliation," said Arte. "The federal government can still right this wrong, opening access to post-secondary education for tens of thousands of Indigenous students at a small cost."
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest students' organization, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations have represented students in Canada since 1927.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
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