StatsCan study shows student debt frozen

    MONTREAL, April 22 /CNW Telbec/ - A Statistics Canada study released
today confirms that the injection of an additional $285 million in federal
funds annually for need-based bursaries, beginning in 2000, served its
intended purpose of stabilizing the debt levels of post-secondary education
    The latest National Graduates Survey shows that, between 2000 and 2005,
debt levels of university graduates who borrowed for their education decreased
by 0.9 percent while that of college graduates decreased by 4.5 percent
(figures adjusted for inflation).
    This corresponds to the period when the Canada Millennium Scholarship
Foundation began paying its millennium bursaries to students with financial
need (2000). In 1998, the federal government created the Foundation to address
rapidly rising student debt levels.
    A separate study on how governments support post-secondary students,
published by the Foundation in 2008, showed that since 1996 the proportion of
financial aid that students received in the form of bursaries, as opposed to
loans, increased from 15 percent to 30 percent. This increase stemmed not only
from the creation of the millennium bursary program but also from the
increased spending by provinces on non-repayable aid that resulted from their
partnerships with the Foundation.
    The Foundation is currently completing the final year of its mandate to
distribute awards to students over a 10-year period. Norman Riddell, the
Foundation's Executive Director and CEO, stated: "We are pleased that this
study from Statistics Canada confirms that the Foundation has delivered on its
mandate to improve the financial situation of Canadian students."
    Later this year, the Foundation's funding for students with financial
need will be replaced by the new Canada Student Grants Program, announced in
the 2008 federal budget. Through this program, the federal government will
provide approximately $350 million in bursaries for students with financial
need beginning in 2009-2010. Said Riddell: "I am pleased that the federal
government is building on the Foundation's success and will ensure that this
important form of funding, which has served to stabilize student debt levels,
will not disappear simply because the Foundation's term is coming to an end."

    The Statistics Canada study can be accessed online at

    For further information on student debt, student finance and the role of
the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, see the following reports from
the Foundation's research program:

    The Price of Knowledge: Access and Student Finance in Canada, Third

    Ten Things You Need to Know About Financial Support for Post-Secondary
    Students in Canada

    Lowering Student Debt: Explaining the Decline in the Debt of University
    Students in Manitoba

    Report on Student Debt

    The Impact of Bursaries: Debt and Student Persistence

    Displacement in Federal Transfer Payments: Exploring Concept and Practice
    With Special Reference to the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

For further information:

For further information: Jaime Frederick, Communications Advisor
(Research), Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, (514) 284-7240,

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