Canada Student Loan Debt Surpasses $13 Billion

    OTTAWA, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada Student Loan debt will surpass the
$13 billion mark today for the first time in the nation's history.
    "The students and families who can least afford to pay for post-secondary
education are carrying a $13 billion burden," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard,
National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Saddling a
generation of students with billions in debt will have far reaching
implications for Canada's economy and socio-economic inequality."
    Total student loans owed to the Government of Canada increases by $1.2
million a day. The $13 billion figure does not include approximately $5
billion in provincial student loan debt or personal debt such as credit cards,
lines of credits, bank loans, and family loans. This school year alone, almost
360,000 students required loans from the federal government.
    In an open letter to Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty sent on December
11, the Canadian Federation of Students proposed four issues to improve access
to post-secondary education and reduce student debt: increasing the Canada
Social Transfer for post-secondary education, increasing graduate student
funding, greater financial support for Aboriginal students, and a boost in
student summer jobs funding.
    "The best way to weather the current economic downturn is to invest in
social programs, especially post-secondary education," said Giroux-Bougard.
"Public post-secondary education should be treated as a public works
mega-project that will reap benefits for decades to come."
    The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest students'
organisation. It is composed of more than 80 university and college students'
unions with a combined membership of over one-half million students.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson,
(613) 232-7394; Ian Boyko, Government Relations Coordinator, (613) 232-7394

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