STUDENT LOANS

ALISTAIR MacGREGOR

In the House

We need to make sure that cost is never a barrier to education.

That is why I am so pleased with our plan to immediately stop the interest on all existing and future student loans.

In March, responding to the 2019 Budget for My Cowichan Valley Now , I made my views on this issue clear, stating:

“[My NDP colleagues and I have] been making the case that we should be removing interest altogether on student loans. That is something our BC government has been going through with and I think that would really help out with what people are going through.”

“Justin Trudeau spent four years raking in billions of dollars in interest from young people who were just starting out in life, even while they were making sacrifices to make student loans payments every month — living at home, working two jobs, even putting off starting a family. Trudeau and the Liberals let young people down. He gave a lot of fancy speeches about the next generation of Canadians — but never stopped reaching into their bank accounts and taking money away from them. Making a profit off student loans is wrong.”

-NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

My NDP colleagues and I are committed to moving from student loans to non-repayable grants, and to a future where post-secondary education is fully part of the public education system so our children can go from kindergarten to a career, without the barrier of cost.

Tuition fees are 160% higher today than they were in 1990. As of September 2014, over 200,000 Canadians were unable to make payments on their government student loans. Currently, Canadian families owe an estimated $37 billion in student loans. These facts are distressing, and they need to be addressed.

A 2015 survey by the Canadian University Survey Consortium found that half of students graduating that year had student debt, with an average debt load of $26,819. Interest payments on this kind of debt over a 10-year period can add up to another $10,000. In fact, interest on student debt is so high that over the past four years, the Liberal government has collected $3 billion in interest from student loan repayments.

I believe there are steps we can take to make education more affordable right now. Five provinces have already shown leadership in eliminating interest rates on student loans. It’s time for the federal government to do the same and stop profiting from student debt.

My vision is for every Canadian to have access to quality post-secondary education, regardless of their income.

In October, through NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s New Deal For People, I look forward to renewing my pledge to ensuring that every Canadian has lifelong access to publicly-funded education – from affordable child care and early-years education through to university, college and apprenticeship training.

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