Tuesday, November 15, 2011
VICTORIA–Students were pleased to learn that the Report on the Budget 2012 Consultations published today by the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommends reducing student debt through an up-front, needs-based student grants program.
“Restoring a grants program should be the top priority for student assistance in BC,” said Zach Crispin, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia (CFS-BC). “Student debt is at an all time high and this program would be positive for students, their families, and the BC economy.”
In 2005 the BC government eliminated its up-front, needs-based grants program, causing student debt to increase dramatically. Average student debt in BC is currently $26,738.
Adding insult to injury, the BC government charges the prime interest rate plus 2.5% on student loans. On the average student loan repaid over the standard ten-year period, an additional $8,083 is added in interest payments, or 30.2% of the principle.
“BC charges the highest interest rates on student loans in the country,” said Crispin, “Compound interest adds over $8,000 to the average student’s loan repayment, effectively penalizing students from low-income backgrounds who are forced to take out larger loans.”
The Committee’s recommendations reflect two of the proposals in the CFS-BC’s submission to the pre-budget hearings. The Committee also heard from students and educators across the province about the need for urgent action to reduce BC’s high tuition fees and increase core funding.
The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of 150,000 students in British Columbia from 17 universities and colleges. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927.
Contact: Zach Crispin, Chairperson
Tel: (604) 733-1880
Contact: Ian Boyko
Tel: (604) 733 1880