Stimulus falls short of Obama's university package

    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal budget failed to make a
balanced investment in education by ignoring core funding and student debt.
Today's budget focuses solely on $2 billion for campus infrastructure but,
unlike the proposed American stimulus plan, does not address growing student
debt and access to post-secondary education.
    "Although we're satisfied to see money for campus buildings, we were
expecting a better effort to tackle student debt and student unemployment,"
said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation
of Students. "Compared to what's on the table for American universities and
colleges, this budget is underwhelming."
    In addition to infrastructure funding, the U.S. stimulus package proposed
by President Barack Obama also includes a boost to the Pell Grant and nearly
$500 million for student jobs.
    Last week, student loans owed to the federal government surpassed $13
billion for the first time in Canadian history. The figure does not include
provincial student loan debt or personal debt such as credit cards, lines of
credits, bank loans, and family loans. Since passing $13 billion on January
21, Canada Student Loan debt has increased approximately $7 million.
    "At current levels, student debt depresses consumer spending and could
harm the Canadian economy's recovery," said Giroux-Bougard. "The federal
government missed an important opportunity to help students and their families
out of a $13 billion hole."

    The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest students'
organisation. It is composed of more than 80 university and college students'
unions with a combined membership of over one-half million students.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson,
(613) 232-7394; Ian Boyko, Government Relations Coordinator, (613) 261-7939

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