Canadian Student Debt Reaches $13 Billion

    MONTREAL, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - This Wednesday, January 21st student
debt resulting from the Canada Student Loan Program will, for the first time
ever, exceed $13 billion. The full financial burden carried by students is
even larger as this figure does not include amounts owed to the Quebec Student
Financial Aid program and personal credit card bills resulting from
post-secondary education.
    According to Keyana Kashfi, President of the Concordia Student Union,
"This student debt crisis is the direct result of provincial governments
increasing tuition to compensate for federal funding cuts." Average student
debt in Quebec is around $13 000, the lowest in Canada. Kashfi worries that
the Quebec government's recent tuition increases will push students even
further into debt.
    Recently, the Canadian government created the Canada Student Grants
Program, a national system of needs based bursaries to deal with rising
student debt but the Quebec government intends to withdraw from the program
and ask for full compensation. "Students are asking the new Liberal government
to reinvest all of the money from the Federal government into needs based
bursaries," said Kashfi, "this money was clearly intended to fight the
worsening student debt crisis and that is where it should go."

    The Concordia Student Union represents over 30 000 undergraduate students
at Concordia University.

For further information:

For further information: Colin Goldfinch, Vice-President External, (514)

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