International News Desk – At Home and Abroad

At Home: No More Student Loans in Newfoundland and Labrador
Perhaps fed up with the endless tide of “newfie” jokes, the Progressive Conservative government of Newfoundland and Labrador has decided to eliminate all future student loans. Instead, provincial student financing will be based on non-repayable grants for those who qualify. The report from CBC points out that while this would cover approximately 40% of the cost of post-secondary for those students on student financing, the bulk of student assistance still comes in the form of interest bearing federal student loans.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government expects to spend 50.6 million on the program to cover the years from 2014 to 2019, with about 7000 students expected to be eligible for the funding.

Around the Globe: Student Debt a Concern for Democrats
In the United States, contenders for the democratic presidential ticket are beginning to make student debt and debt relief a high visibility platform point. This week, candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled her plan to make college more affordable by providing incentives to public universities that guarantee students don’t need to take out loans at least for their tuition. One of her rivals, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders goes further than that calling for solutions for students that are completely debt-free.

More interestingly, Clinton is not framing the issue simply as one to benefit students and parents, but as a centrepiece of her economic agenda. Noting the debt levels of new graduates as a hindrance to a well-performing economy, Clinton calls the current system, where paying for college pushes peoples dreams “further and further out of reach” a “betrayal of everything college is supposed to represent.