Federal government makes secretive changes to Canada's student debt ceiling

OTTAWA, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Behind closed doors this spring, the federal government raised the limit on federal student loan lending to $24 billion, further increasing students' debt burden rather than taking steps to alleviate the financial hardship they face after graduation. The change serves as another example of the Harper government's disregard for Canada's youth.

"Forcing students to take on debt in order to pay for a post-secondary education is bankrupting a generation," said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The federal government should be taking steps to reduce the cost of post-secondary education, not bury students further in debt."

On May 28, Ministers Pierre Poilievre and Joe Oliver made a $5 billion amendment to Canada Student Financial Assistance regulations, raising the lending cap from $19 billion to $24 billion. In a recently released report, the government cited a number of reasons for the increase, ignoring the single root cause of the mounting crisis of personal debt held by a growing number of young Canadians—tuition fees that have risen by 41 percent in the last ten years. Unreleased data cited in the government's report estimates that the previous limit of $19 billion would be reached as early as January 2016, five years earlier than the previous prediction of 2021.

"Increasing the student debt ceiling is a band-aid solution to a crisis that is the product of a woefully underfunded system of post-secondary education," said Arte. "This government has allowed post-secondary education in Canada to become increasingly out of reach for low- and middle-income families. This is not the kind of legacy they should want students to remember on October 19."

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organization, uniting more that one-half million students across Canada. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations have represented students in Canada since 1927.


SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: Sarah McCue, Communications Coordinator, s.mccue@cfs-fcee.ca, 613-797-6626


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