Federal government remains silent about looming student debt crisis

OTTAWA, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Students are calling on the federal government to release this year's data on student debt, which they expect to show that student debt has surpassed what HRSD Canada is legally allowed to loan. The data, normally released annually in the actuarial report of the Canada Student Loans Program, is usually disclosed before the beginning of each school year.

"The government cannot continue to operate without a plan to tackle growing student debt" said Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "We anticipate this report will reveal record-high student debt, the product of tuition fees hikes increasing at more than double the rate of inflation."

In its 2010 actuarial report, the Canada Student Loans Program predicted that student debt would not surpass a legislated ceiling of $15 billion until 2014-15. Despite this, student debt surpassed the ceiling by an estimated $300 million last year, causing the federal government to invoke regulatory changes to the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. The changes artificially lowered total national student debt figures in order to continue issuing new loans to students.

"Breaking last year's student debt record is symptomatic of an underfunded public education system reliant on more and more private funds in the form of user fees," added Dubois. "Without a national strategy for addressing the student debt crisis, Canada will be bankrupting the next generation."

The new report is expected to reveal details of the government's latest student debt estimates. The Canadian Federation of Students has made proposals to reduce student debt through lower tuition fees and more generous Canada Student Grants.

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

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson, office: 613-232-7394, mobile: 613-816-7486 email: chair@cfs-fcee.ca

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