Canadian Federation of Students pushes to eliminate student loan interest rates

Published On May 22, 2018 | By damianali93 | Life, News

Members of the student-led CFS want governments to scrap interest rates on student loans. (Canadian Federation of Students – Fédération canadienne des étudiant.e.s / Facebook)

Damian Ali

The Canadian post-secondary student debt crisis has pushed students to take its interests into their own hands.

A campaign launched by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) aims to propel federal and provincial governments to eliminate interest rates on student loans.

Through a series of Facebook ads, the Canadian Federation of Students states student loans shouldn’t be a source of profit for any level of government.

One of the Facebook ads the CFS uses to highlight its campaign. (Canadian Federation of Students – Fédération canadienne des étudiant.e.s / Facebook)

“The reason why we’re running this campaign is because right now in Canada, there’s a student debt crisis,” said CFS treasurer Peyton Veitch.

“Right now, students collectively owe $28 billion in debt to all levels of government, $19 billion of that is owed to the federal government,” he said.

Currently, provinces such as Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island do not charge interest rates, and Newfoundland and Labrador offers non-repayable grants and British Columbia is following suit with similar grants in the near future.

Student debts in Canada, with or without a set interest rate, are higher than mortgage rates in the country, CFS Vice-President Charlotte Kiddell said.

The CFS wants interest rates eliminated to alleviate the pains of the country’s student debt crisis. (Canadian Federation of Students – Fédération canadienne des étudiant.e.s / Facebook)

“A student who is burdened with an approximate $30,000 loan, which is about average for an undergraduate domestic graduate, is going to have trouble buying a house, starting a family, accessing a small business loan,” Kiddell said.

The 2017-2018 academic year saw over a three per cent increase in tuition fees for undergraduate programs, according to a Statistics Canada data report.

Additional compulsory fees for Canadian students, irrespective of field of study, also saw an increase by more than three per cent. Graduate programs saw a four per cent increase in their compulsory fees.

Humber Lakeshore Human Resources Management student Renee Johnson says students find this troublesome, especially for those who are most likely looking to start a family sometime down the road.

“Honestly, it’s annoying because if you try to get a credit card and if you haven’t made student (loan) payment then it affects your credit status negatively,” Johnson said.

“How do they (the government) expect us to start families or become adults as society wants us to be, but we don’t have the income to support that dream?” she asked. “All of us millennials who are getting out of school with student loans will never be able to own a house at this rate, especially in an urbanized city like Toronto.”

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