Students Endorse Infrastructure Spending; Lament Inaction on Student Support

    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations is impressed by the substantial commitment of $2 billion toward
dealing with Accumulated Deferred Maintenance (ADM) in Budget 2009. CASA is
the only national student body that has been calling for urgent action on ADM
and asked for $1.5 billion. Universities and colleges in Canada are facing
substantial difficulties; years of underfunding have limited their capacity to
engage in routine maintenance (such as fixing desks, stairways, windows and
lights) that have resulted in an escalating price to fix these problems and
classrooms that cannot be used because they are too decrepit.
    "We're happy to say that the government listened to our recommendation
and took action," said Zach Churchill, CASA's National Director. Financing ADM
is valuable because it opens up seats for students by making unusable
classrooms and buildings available once again. However, Budget 2009 puts a
worrisome constraint on funds by requiring institutions to raise half of a
project's cost from alternative sources before federal funds can be accessed.
Fundraising takes a great deal of time and effort ,even when provincial
governments have available money, and requiring fundraising runs counter to
the government's stated goal of funding projects that can be implemented
    Other concerns about Budget 2009 include a lack of a one-time transfer of
funds to the provinces to offset freezes or claw-backs in post-secondary
education funding, or action to help students and their families get through
the recession, such as temporary, targeted grants for students or extending
the interest relief period for Canada Student Loans.
    "It's good to expand the capacity of our institutions but if potential
students don't believe they can take on new debt in the middle of a recession,
those seats will remain empty," said Churchill.

    The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan,
not-for-profit national student organization composed of 23 student
associations, representing 300,000 students from coast to coast.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Jillian Flake,
Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, (c) 613-868-6605,

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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