As many Canadians continue to struggle financially through the pandemic, students are renewing their call for the federal government to eliminate interest on student loans to ease the burden of student loan debt.
In the past 20 years tuition fees across Canada have more than doubled and education-related expenses have increased dramatically. Over the same timeframe student debt has increased 78%, reaching nearly $35,000 for a 4-year bachelor degree. Over a 10-year repayment period, this results in borrowers paying over $4,000 in interest.
The impact of student loan debt has not been lost on the federal government and many provincial governments. In total, five provincial governments have made the decision to eliminate interest on the provincial portion of student loans. The broad consensus on the negative impacts of student loan interest has also led to a reduction in student loan interest rates at the federal level and the freezing of interest accrual on student loans for the 2021-2022 year.
When the federation government issued a moratorium on student loan payments and interest accrual at the beginning of the pandemic, they and supporting parties demonstrated a clear recognition of the heavy burden of student loan debt on recent graduates.
Post-secondary education will be a powerful driver that will bring post-pandemic stability to the country. Eliminating interest on student loans would help ensure those who need to return to school for retraining to restart our economy are not penalized for doing so. The Knock Out Interest campaign calling on the federal government to eliminate interest on student loans has been endorsed by 39 students’ unions representing 725,000 students across Canada. More Information about the Knock Out Interest campaign can be found at www.KnockOutInterest.ca and www.ocsu.ca/campaigns/Knock-Out-Interest