As many Canadians continue to struggle financially through the pandemic, students are renewing their call for the federal government to eliminate interest on student loans to ease the burden of student loan debt.
February 8– 12 the three local Student Unions’ (NBCGSS, NUGSS, and CNCSU) will be working together along with the rest of the British Columbia Federation of Students to advocate and spread the word about the Knock Out Interest campaign.
In the past 20 years, tuition fees across Canada have more than doubled, and education-related expenses have increased dramatically. Over the same timeframe, student debt has increased 78 per cent, reaching nearly $35,000 for a four-year bachelor’s degree. Over a 10-year repayment period, this results in borrowers paying over $4,000 in interest.
“Uplifting those who need it is the basic requirement of equity in any form,” said Sharanjit Kaur, Chairperson of the CNCSU. “All the young minds who aspire and work to achieve good education for their and the country’s better future deserve to get support from the government of the country. On the way to this path, some of them need to get loans for their higher education, and federal interest on these loans create a burden on contrary to support them. It is not fair to those students who are already in need to pay more than others who can already afford. So, it is a request to our respected government to KNOCK OUT INTEREST on student loans and give every student a fair chance to live freely their dream of getting a higher education and do wonders for the nation. No student should ever drop out the dream of education because of non-affordability.”
When the federation government issued a moratorium on student loan payments and interest accrual at the beginning of the pandemic, they and supporting parties demonstrated a clear recognition of the heavy burden of student loan debt on recent graduates.
“Education is a right, not a privilege. Education should not be a financial burden students have to endure years after they finished their degree,” Said Jingyu Chen, President of Northern Undergraduate Student Society.
These comments were followed up by a statement by Jared Nome, Vice President of NUGSS: “The campaign will allow students to repay their student loans faster, and allow them to contribute to the economy in much more productive ways through their future career choices.”
Reginald Ihekwaba, the Director of Community Development for NBCGSS, had this to say: “The elimination of interest on student loans is increasingly important not just because of current financial pressures faced by students due to the pandemic but also because it will increase access to education for students from low and middle-income families. Additionally, knocking out interests on student loans could encourage more Canadians to pursue degrees in STEM, Social Science and Art fields which is highly beneficial to the economy as a whole.”
Post-secondary education will be a powerful driver that will bring post-pandemic stability to the country. Eliminating interest on student loans would help ensure those who need to return to school for retraining to restart our economy are not penalized for doing so. The Knock OutInterest campaign calling on the federal government to eliminate interest on student loans has been endorsed by 39 students’ unions representing 725,000 students across Canada. More Information about the Knock Out Interest campaign can be found at www.KnockOutInterest.ca.