It’s Time to Knock Out Interest on Federal Student Loans!

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

STUDENT ACTION WORKS!

Fund it. Fix it.

Tuition fees have skyrocketed over the last two decades, more than doubling since 2001. Where average tuition fees were $2,500 in 2000, they are over $5,900 in 2019; the average cost of obtaining a degree has increased by over $13,700 in tuition fees alone. The reason for this is clear: years of cuts and neglect have resulted in an underfunded system that makes up for funding on the backs of students and their families.

In recent years, the proportion of public funding to BC colleges and universities has dropped to less than 44% of total operating revenue, down from more than 80% in the 1980s and more than 90% in the 1970s; the proportion of tuition fee revenues now makes up 48% of institutions’ revenue — surpassing the proportion from government funding. This constitutes a massive divestment in public education for the current generation of young people compared to the support provided to those who attended college and university in past decades.

With the rising cost of tuition fees, add to those costs a multitude of new ancillary fees, ballooning housing costs, rapidly inflating transportation costs and other increased living costs, and it is easy to see why so many students are struggling. Compounding the squeeze on students and their families is the fact that wages have remained stagnant, and student financial assistance has not kept pace with need.

Our public post-secondary education system needs a renewed prioritization and investment from the BC government. With it, the government can freeze tuition fees at current levels and establish a plan to progressively reduce fees in the future. This action is absolutely necessary to help make life more affordable for BC students and their families.

How can we tell the next generation that they can’t afford to dream? When it comes to British Columbia’s post-secondary system, we need to fund it, and fix it, now.

In recent years, the proportion of public funding to BC colleges and universities has dropped to less than 44% of total operating revenue, down from more than 80% in the 1980s and more than 90% in the 1970s; the proportion of tuition fee revenues now makes up 48% of institutions’ revenue — surpassing the proportion from government funding. This constitutes a massive divestment in public education for the current generation of young people compared to the support provided to those who attended college and university in past decades.

With the rising cost of tuition fees, add to those costs a multitude of new ancillary fees, ballooning housing costs, rapidly inflating transportation costs and other increased living costs, and it is easy to see why so many students are struggling. Compounding the squeeze on students and their families is the fact that wages have remained stagnant, and student financial assistance has not kept pace with need.

Our public post-secondary education system needs a renewed prioritization and investment from the BC government. With it, the government can freeze tuition fees at current levels and establish a plan to progressively reduce fees in the future. This action is absolutely necessary to help make life more affordable for BC students and their families.

How can we tell the next generation that they can’t afford to dream? When it comes to British Columbia’s post-secondary system, we need to fund it, and fix it, now.

(via wearebcstudents.ca)