Students call for strategic investments in the 2009 federal budget



    OTTAWA, Jan. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - With the 2009 federal budget only three
weeks away students across Canada are demanding that the federal government
make funding for education, knowledge and innovation a priority for the year
ahead.
    The economic downturn is leaving a significant impression on Canada's
post-secondary institutions - CASA believes that endowments that universities
rely on for scholarships and bursaries have, on average, lost between 12% and
15% nationally. These short term losses are dramatic but do not compare to the
potential reduction in revenues a recession will impose on the provinces'
ability to sustain spending for post-secondary education.
    Without government intervention, these and other shortfalls in operating
capital must be made up by the institutions themselves, typically through
curtailing class offerings, freezes in hiring, and downloading of higher
tuition and ancillary fees to students.
    Moreover, Canadian families are now finding themselves face-to-face with
layoffs, pay freezes, decreased value of homes, loss of businesses, declining
savings and so forth. Confronted by these issues, many students will find
themselves suddenly without the necessary resources to pursue higher education
during this year, and into the next.
    "The current economic uncertainty has created new, unexpected demands
upon both post-secondary institutions and students," said Zach Churchill,
National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. "As a
result, the Canadian post-secondary education system is expected to take a
crippling hit if the federal government does not invest in higher education."
    On behalf of its 300,000 members, the CASA is recommending that the
following actions be taken as a part of the 2009 federal budget. CASA believes
that if adopted, these actions will produce reinforcing effects of stimulating
the economy, while easing the burden that Canadian education institutions and
their students face given the current economic circumstances.

    
    1. Invest $1.5 billion in Accumulated Deferred Maintenance (ADM) at
       post-secondary institutions across the country
    2. Provide a one-time, earmarked transfer to the provinces for PSE to
       offset freezes or claw-backs in provincial PSE funding
    3. Provide temporary targeted grants to counterbalance the difficulties
       students and their families may face in finding the means to afford
       post-secondary education
    4. Extend the Interest Relief period for Canada Student Loans from the
       current 6 months, to 9 months
    

    "If adopted, these actions will produce reinforcing effects of
stimulating the economy, in addition to reinforcing the federal government's
strong commitment to building a knowledge advantage for Canada," concluded
Churchill.
    For CASA's full Pre-Budget Submission please click here:
    http://files.newswire.ca/772/PreBudget2009.pdf

    The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan,
not-for-profit national student organization composed of 23 student
associations, representing 300,000 students from coast to coast.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
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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