Students Call for a Student Loan Ombudsperson

    OTTAWA, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - A coalition of current and former students
is calling for an ombudsperson to oversee the escalation of complaints related
to repayment of Canada Student Loans. A poll commissioned by the Coalition for
Student Loan Fairness has found that 74% of Canadians agree with the proposal.
    "A dramatic increase in student debt over the last decade and the
corresponding thousands of complaints about student loan collection suggests
that students need an independent arbiter," said Amanda Aziz, National
Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "With average student loan
debt approaching $30,000 in some provinces, it is important to make sure that
students are getting a fair deal when it comes to dispute resolution."
    Under the current system, if student loan borrowers are unsatisfied with
how their files are being handled by the National Student Loan Service Centre,
their files are escalated to a supervisor. In 2005-2006, over 9,800 calls were
escalated. In cases where the loan has been turned over to collection agents,
student loan borrowers have virtually no recourse with the Government of
    The federal government is currently reviewing the Canada Student Loans
Program and taking feedback from stakeholders about improvements to the
43-year old program. The Canadian Federation of Students has identified a
reduction in student loan interest rates and the replacement of the Millennium
Scholarship with a federally-administered system of need-based grants as two
priorities for improving the Program.

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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