Grants eligibility expansion must be followed with greater public investment

OTTAWA, April 7, 2015 /CNW/ - An expansion of eligibility for the Canada Student Grants Program, announced today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will increase competition for financial aid that is already stretched thin unless it is followed by significant investment to expand the amount of money available to students. The grants program will be expanded to include post-secondary programs longer than 34 weeks, down from 60 weeks as the minimum program duration.

"All students deserve access to high quality public post-secondary education, including those studying in short-term professional programs," said Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Without announcing any additional funding for the Canada Student Grants Program, Prime Minister Harper is increasing competition for already overextended student aid."

The Canada Student Grants Program, introduced in 2009 following lobbying efforts by the Canadian Federation of Students, provides need-based, non-repayable grants to Canada's post-secondary students. Expansions to the program are necessary, but can be dramatically improved by simply reallocating existing investments.

A report released by the Canadian Federation of Students earlier this month outlined a cost-neutral way to alleviate the strain on student aid and provide immediate relief to hundreds of thousands of students. By shifting funding from inefficient tax credits and savings schemes to the Canada Student Grants Program, the federal government could eliminate all federal student loans within 15 years.

"Today's announcement reinforces the need for increased support to relieve the burden of debt that limits access to education for hundreds of thousands of students," said McCormick. "Students urge our federal leaders to prioritize post-secondary education during the federal election by further expanding the grants program for all students."

The reports, titled The Impacts of Debt and Student Financial Assistance in Canada: Complicated, Inefficient and Ineffective are available at http://cfs-fcee.ca/research-policy/policy-papers-and-submissions/

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

 

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: Sarah McCue, Communications Coordinator at 613-232-7394 or s.mccue@cfs-fcee.ca


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