Student debt woes top Ottawa meetings

by | Oct 22, 2012 | News

By Alex Fuller and Meagan Malloch

Students from across Canada will meet with Members of Parliament and Senators this week to discuss improving the quality and accessibility of post secondary education — and reducing what the Canadian Federation of Students says are unreasonable levels of student debt.

The CFS published a document called Public Education for the Public Good, which outlines the different recommendations students will be presenting to Ottawa.

Student representatives throughout Canada and the CFS are pushing changes to cut the student loan debt in half by 2015, and according to a press release “adopt a federal post-secondary education act that sets out a national standard for higher education.”


Toby Whitfield, Ontario National Executive Representative, told Humber News that the CFS meets twice a year as a general assembly with student representatives from across the country, and strive towards a workable education.

“Student debt is at $15 billion at a federal level, and students have to pay for other things, like credit card bills if we go private, and we want to tackle this by cutting it in half,” said Whitfield.

Adam Awad, chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students said in a press release said that the federal government has a responsibility to make sure post-secondary education is accessible in every province.

“We need a national plan for post-secondary education to address high tuition fees and the growing crisis of student debt across the country,” said Awad.

The CFS document shows that student unemployment rates remain high, but just over 75 per cent of students believe that working has a negative effect on academics.

Karen Fast, manager of Humber’s Career Centre at the North campus, told Humber News her perspective on the government’s current standards for post-secondary education:

Over the past 20 years, Canadian students have seen tuition costs increase over 200 per cent and the CFS document shows that 78 per cent of Canadians disagree with increases in tuition costs; within that demographic, 41 per cent are in support of reducing the current tuition levels.