Government Answers Student Call for PSE Infrastructure Spending

    OTTAWA, Jan. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, John Baird, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities, announced that the Federal Budget will invest
$2-billion dollars in post-secondary education infrastructure spending.
    The $2-billion fund for repairs, maintenance and accelerated construction
at colleges and universities across Canada was part of CASA's pre-budget
recommendations to the government as a much needed investment in
post-secondary education given the current economic crisis.
    "Students are impressed that the government has recognized the importance
of investing in PSE infrastructure," said Zach Churchill, National Director of
the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. "The question for tomorrow's
budget is how this money is going to be delivered and whether or not it will
simply displace pre-existing funding."
    CASA was the only national student body asking for PSE infrastructure
spending and proposed the government dedicate funding to the post-secondary
students and institutions in order to produce reinforcing effects of
stimulating the economy, while easing the burden that Canadian education
institutions and their students face given the current economic circumstances.
    "We are pleased that the government has listened to our proposals, and we
are hoping to see more spending being allocated to PSE in tomorrow's budget,"
said Churchill. "It is imperative for the government to ensure stable funding
levels at institutions, and provide targeted funding to post-secondary
students who need it the most in order for the federal government to maintain
its commitment to building a knowledge advantage for Canada."
    In addition to infrastructure spending, CASA is recommending that the
following actions be taken as a part of the 2009 federal budget:

    - Provide a one-time, earmarked transfer to the provinces for PSE to
      offset freezes or claw-backs in provincial PSE funding
    - Provide temporary targeted grants to counterbalance the difficulties
      students and their families may face in finding the means to afford
      post-secondary education
    - Extend the Interest Relief period for Canada Student Loans from the
      current 6 months, to 9 months

    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,

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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