Student Grants Gutted by Alberta Budget

OTTAWA, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Students and their families stand to lose the most, with the education funding cuts proposed in the Alberta budget, tabled yesterday.

"The government of Alberta has decided to abandon students," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "This budget is a recipe for massive tuition fee hikes and nothing less than life-long debt."

Provincial student debt is currently capped at approximately $29,000 for a four-year degree. The budget proposes to remove this debt cap and gut the provincial student grants program by $85 million, replacing grants, scholarships and bursaries with loans. The budget also contains a $205 million cut for post-secondary education.

"The government's proposal to download education costs on to students is a short-sighted and irresponsible reaction to the current fiscal crunch," added Giroux-Bougard. "This is not the way forward for students in Alberta and their families."

Tuition fees in Alberta continue to rise at one of the fastest paces in the country at 4% between 2008 and 2009. Universities in Alberta have already put forward requests to the ministry of Advanced Education and Technology for up to $4,000 increases for professional program fees next year. Inflation was less than three-tenths of one percent in 2009.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation. It is composed of over 80 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of over one half million students in all ten provinces.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: For further information: Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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