HALIFAX—A report released today by the Maritimes Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) revealed that average student debt continues to rise in the Maritimes and more students are taking on more than $45,000 in debt to finance their education.
“These results are yet another example of how the government has offloaded the costs of education onto the backs of students and our families through high tuition fees,” says Gabe Hoogers, Nova Scotia National Executive Representative for the Canadian Federation of Students – Nova Scotia. “Saddling youth in Nova Scotia with massive student debt does nothing to build Nova Scotia’s economy or deal with the looming issues of skills shortages and the out-migration of youth.”
The MPHEC report, Two Years On: A Survey of Class of 2007 Maritime University Graduates, found that by 2009, 75 percent of first degree holders in Nova Scotia had borrowed money to fund their 2007 degree and/or subsequent education. On average, Nova Scotia graduates had borrowed $36, 092 by 2009 and 31 percent borrowed $45,000 or more. The report also found that graduates with parents with lower educational attainment were more likely to have taken on debt to finance their degree, and had higher debt loads, than students from families with higher educational attainment.
Currently, the Nova Scotia government is considering recommendations from former Bank of Montreal Executive Vice-President Tim O’Neill, to allow tuition fees to increase further and lift the ceiling on how much debt a student can access from government financial aid. Currently, students pay an average of $5,400 in tuition fees. A recent poll commissioned by the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition found that 83 percent of Nova Scotians support reducing tuition fees.
“Reducing tuition fees in Nova Scotia is the best and most efficient way of reducing student debt and ensuring that low- and middle-income families are not shut out of post-secondary education,” continued Hoogers.
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For more information, please contact:
Kaley Kennedy, Government Relations and Research Coordinator, 425-4237 or 293-9683 (cell)
The Canadian Federation of Students, Canada’s national student movement, is comprised of nearly one-half million students from over 70 college and university students’ unions. Students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927