Students on Parliament Hill this week to call for action on high student debt

OTTAWA, Oct. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Students from across Canada will be meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators this week to pressure the federal government to take immediate steps to address increasing student debt.

"Canada is facing a crisis in student debt," said Jessica McCormick, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Without immediate and decisive action from the federal government, today's students will be the first generation to be worse off than the previous generation.

Over the past 20 years tuition fees in Canada have increased by over 200 percent. High tuition fees have led to record levels of student debt. Students collectively owe the federal government over $15 billion through the Canada Student Loans Program, with billions more owed to provincial governments and private lenders. Last year alone, 455,000 Canadians were forced to borrow federal student loans.

Students will be meeting with Members of Parliament and Senators to outline a series of recommendations, including a cost-neutral proposal to convert all new student loans to grants and investments that would cut student debt in Canada by half and return federal funding to colleges and university to 1992 levels.

"Whether it's the increasing need for campus food banks or the concerning level of financial stress reported by young people, students see the impact of high tuition fees and student debt everyday," said McCormick. "Addressing these challenges requires federal leadership and the political will to ensure young people are not left behind."

Students' recommendations, contained in a policy document entitled Public Education for the Public Good, are available at www.cfs-fcee.ca.

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

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Jessica McCormick, Chairperson: 613-232-7394, chair@cfs-fcee.ca


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