NDP unveils three-step balanced plan to tackle student debt crisis

NDP unveils three-step balanced plan to tackle student debt crisis

Plan to double federal student grants would slash 25 % off average debt load

OTTAWA – NDP post-secondary critic Denise Savoie today unveiled her balanced plan to cut student debt by 25 per cent using a three step program the opposition parties would be wise to support.

“The convoluted patchwork of tax credits and savings schemes created by Liberal and Conservative governments disproportionately benefit high-income families and do nothing to address student debt,” argued Savoie. “Students need financial assistance when tuition is due, not when they are six years old, and not six months later off their taxes.”

The NDP strategy to reduce student debt includes a plan to double the current amount of various federal grant programs to over $1 billion by cancelling the Canada Education Savings Program and the Textbook Tax Credit. The approximately $750 million in savings would go directly toward non-repayable grants averaging $1,500 for every student with Canada Student Loans in every year of study.

Last week’s report by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation reported that average student debt in Canada is now over $24,000 – an all-time high and more than $2,500 higher than in 2003.

“An NDP government’s first priority for post-secondary education would be to drastically reduce student debt,” said Savoie. “The yoke of debt is a tremendous burden on Canada’s graduates as they begin their careers and a significant drag on our economy.”

The NDP strategy would also substantially increase federal transfers for post-secondary education, so that every province can freeze or roll back tuition, as well as re-invest in faculty hiring, resources and infrastructure according to its particular needs and the needs of its students.

“Tuition has grown out of reach for even middle-income Canadians,” said Savoie. “The Liberal-Conservative strategy has been to tinker with taxes and increase loan ceilings, which have led to soaring debt loads. We have a different formula: lower tuition and more grants equals lower debt – pure and simple.”