Students Applaud Leadership of Federal Government

    Canada Student Grant Program Established in Federal Budget 2008

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Students applauded the creation of Canada's
first-ever national system of grants, announced in today's Federal Budget,
capping several years of lobbying efforts. The grants program is being
introduced as the Millennium Scholarship Foundation mandate comes to an end.
    "The government has taken a positive step towards improving access to
post-secondary education," said Shamus Reid, BC Chairperson of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "By implementing a national system of grants, the
government has responded to a long standing call by students and their
families to reduce student debt."
    The 2008 budget provides $350 million for grants to low- and
middle-income students starting in 2009, with the total funding rising to
$430 million by 2012. The grants will range from $800 to $2,000 per student
per year and will be provided to approximately 245,000 students per year.
    The Canadian Federation of Students has been calling for an accountable
and transparent replacement for the Millennium Scholarship Foundation since
the Foundation's creation in 1998. Average student debt in BC has risen from
$18,500 in 2001 to a record-high of $27,000 this year as a result of high
tuition fees.
    "Today's announcement marks the end of Canada's tenure as one of the few
western industrialized nations without a national system of grants," said
Amanda Aziz, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.
"This decision is long overdue."

    Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest
student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students from ten

For further information:

For further information: Shamus Reid, BC Chairperson, (604) 733-1880
(office), (778) 322-7208 (cell); Amanda Aziz, National Chairperson, (613)
232-7394 (office), (613) 261-7528 (cell)

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