OTTAWA, Nov. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - $2.84 billion would solve Canada's post-secondary funding problem. This is the number the Canadian Federation of Students is focusing on this week in more than 120 meetings with members of parliament and senators.
"We're calling on the federal government to make post-secondary education a priority," said Jessica McCormick, the Federation's National Chairperson. "Many of the things we're requesting have no costs associated with them yet would have huge outcomes for the country's economic future."
The $2.84 billion would fund the Federation's three recommended actions to solve the issues facing Canadian post-secondary students.
First, the Federation is urging the federal government to alleviate education-related debt loads by increasing non-repayable grants, removing the funding cap on increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and protecting post-secondary investments through legislation in cooperation with the provinces, modeled after the Canada Health Act.
Second, the Federation recommends removing targeted research-funding earmarks within the granting councils and increasing the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to be consistent with average program growth.
Third, the Federation is calling on the federal government to double the annual investment in the Youth Employment Strategy to ensure program effectiveness and develop a strategy to increase employment and training opportunities for Canada's youth.
This week's meetings together with the Federation's innovative, national campaign, itsnosecret.ca, represent an aggressive push aimed at educating Canadians about the value of PSE in the lead-up to the federal election. Only 38 per cent of youth voted in the last federal election. In the face of historic challenges facing young Canadians the Federation is working to engage young voters and mobilize their vote across the country.
Youth unemployment, youth underemployment and unpaid internships coupled with rising tuition rates and lessened quality of post-secondary education are making life for students more and more precarious.
"It's critically important that our federal leaders and all Canadians understand that we are in a crisis situation and that our issues have deep implications for the Canadian economy," McCormick said. "Unemployment, massive debt loads and underfunding aren't soley student issues – they affect all Canadians."
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organization. It is made up of over 75 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of over one half million students in all ten provinces.
Francophone and regional representatives available upon request.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students
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