Canada Student Loan debt tops $13B, figures show
Published Wednesday, January 21, 2009 11:47AM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 10:01PM EDT
Canadians who have pursued post-secondary studies now owe the federal government $13 billion in outstanding loans, according to new figures from the Canadian Federation of Students.
The CFS says Canada Student Loan debt increases by $1.2 million per day and will cross the $13 billion mark on Wednesday.
A debt clock featured on the CFS webpage shows the Canada Student Loan debt inching toward the $13 billion mark in real time.
CFS national chairperson Katherine Giroux-Bougard told CTV.ca Wednesday said the government must do more to help stem the growing levels of Canadian student debt.
"What the priority of the government should be is really to make post-secondary education affordable," she said.
Being saddled with such debt, she said, leaves Canadian students making choices they shouldn't have to make.
Studies have shown that "student loan applications reduce the ability of new graduates to start families, work in public service careers, invest in other assets, volunteer, or even just take a lower paying job in their own field to get a foot in the door," Giroux-Bougard said.
"So, it changes peoples' life choices and career choices," she added.
Her organization advocates having the federal government provide more money to the students through the Canada Social Transfer, rather than the Canada Student Loans Program. This would allow the government to work with the provinces to reduce university tuition fees and claw back overall student debt, she said.
The CFS says the $13-billion figure does not include $5 billion students owe to provinces, nor does it include any debt they owe to banks, credit companies and their parents.
According to the Human Resources and Social Development Canada website, the federal government's Canada Student Loans Program has offered $28.1 billion in loans to more than 3.8 million students since the program was founded in 1964.