Students sound the alarm: Federal government sleepwalking towards the precipice

    OTTAWA, Sept. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Students across Canada are concerned
about the looming $350 million hole in Canada's financial aid system. In 2009,
the mandate of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is set to expire
and students are demanding that the Federal government commit to the
preservation of funding which significantly impacts the accessibility of
post-secondary education in Canada.
    Seven provincial and national student organizations representing
approximately 600,000 post-secondary students, the largest united student
voice in Canada, have raised their voices and expressed their concern over the
$350 million cut to financial aid.
    "The Federal government has shown an alarming lack of urgency and
leadership in addressing this issue," said Zach Churchill, National Director
of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). "Thousands of
students will be denied the opportunity to access post-secondary education if
the funding is not renewed."
    The Foundation provides 30 percent of all non-repayable student grants in
Canada, and nearly half of the grant funding in many provinces. Each year
since its inception, the Foundation has distributed approximately 100,000
access and merit-based awards at an average of $3,000 each. To date, the
Foundation has delivered more than half a million bursaries and scholarships
worth more than $2.2 billion to students across Canada.
    "Without these funds, students with the highest need from coast-to-coast
will experience a new and crushing financial burden. This potential gap in
student financial assistance hurts those who need help the most," said Heather
Elliott, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA).
    Ensuring every qualified student is able to attend post-secondary
education is essential for the future prosperity of our nation. This is a time
to increase investments in students, and nurture the innovative economy that
Canada needs. Failure to address this challenge moves Canada in a regressive

    The collective includes: Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations
(ANSSA), Alberta College and Technical Institute Student Executive Council
(ACTISEC), the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), College
Student Alliance (CSA), Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), New
Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA), and the Ontario Undergraduate Student
Alliance (OUSA).

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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