[Ottawa – March 18, 2003] A serious flaw in the Canada Student Loan Program was debated this afternoon in the House of Commons. John Herron, the Conservative MP for Fundy Royal brought forward a Private Member’s Motion to address the often ignored issue of the parental contribution requirement for student loans. Herron’s motion reads “that in the opinion of this House, the government should consider eliminating the parental contribution standard from the Canada Student Loan Program.”
“This issue affects a large number of students and potential students,” said Erin Stevenson, Communications Officer for Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). “The government has very unrealistic expectations for the amount of money that families can contribute towards a student’s education. As a result of these unrealistic expectations, access is being limited.” Currently the program demands that parents provide financial support to students for their first four years after high school. The money parents are expected to contribute is deducted from the student’s assessed loan. For example, a family of four in Manitoba with an annual income of $80,000 is expected to contribute $30,000 over four years towards their children’s studies.
“These expectations are simply unrealistic, research shows us this,” said Stevenson. “According to a study by the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, 61 per cent of students receive less than $2000 a year in parental support. An additional 13 per cent receive no support. 74 per cent of students receive less than $2,000 a year from their parents to go to school. Parents are finding it increasingly difficult to fund their child’s education to the extent governments expect them to; this issue needs to be addressed now.”
CASA would like to thank Mr. Herron and MPs Monty Solberg, Ken Epp, Yvon Godin, Andy Scott, and Peter Adams for their positive contributions to today’s debate. “It was important to see that students have support from members of the Liberals, PCs, Alliance and NDP,” said Stevenson. “But we must get the message to more MPs. The last budget saw improvements to the Canada Student Loan Program but they didn’t go far enough. The government must take action now so post-secondary education is accessible for everyone. This is a key investment in Canada’s economic and social well being.”
CASA is a federal student lobby organization. CASA is a coalition of 21 student governments representing over 280 000 post-secondary education students nationwide.
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