Massive Surplus Generated While Student Debt Swells - Students Urge Harper to Take Action on Student Debt

    OTTAWA, Sept. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - A portion of the $14 billion national
surplus should be directed at reducing student debt, which now tops
$12.5 billion, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. The
Federation says that students and their families face increasing
post-secondary education costs each year despite eleven straight federal
    "Student debt is the highest it's ever been because the Harper government
has done nothing to protect students from tuition fee increases," said Amanda
Aziz, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "There has
been a lot of talk from Conservatives about another tax reduction, but tuition
fees are a flat tax that have doubled in the last decade. If the Harper
government wants to help working families, he should work with the provinces
to reduce tuition fees."
    According to Statistics Canada, $7.1 billion in tuition fees were
collected from college and university students across the country during the
2006-2007 academic year. The $12.5 billion federal student debt is rising at a
rate of $17 per second.
    "In order to get elected, Prime Minister Harper promised students two
things, a dedicated transfer payment for post-secondary education and
follow-through on the Layton-Martin budget amendment of $1.5 billion to reduce
tuition fees," said Aziz. "It's been a year and a half and there still isn't a
dedicated transfer payment or even one cent from the federal government to
stop tuition fee hikes."
    In 2005, Bill C-48 (the Layton-Martin budget amendment) allocated
$1.5 billion to help provinces reduce tuition fees. The Harper government
instead provided $1.0 billion in a time-limited trust fund for university and
college infrastructure.
    Students are calling on Prime Minister Harper to include plans in his
Speech from the Throne to make good on his promises for a dedicated transfer
payment to the provinces for post-secondary education and to protect students
from any further tuition fee increases.

For further information:

For further information: Amanda Aziz, National Chairperson, (613)
232-7394 ext. 21; Ian Boyko, Government Relations Coordinator, (613) 232-7394
ext. 22

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