Eliminate Interest on Federal Student Loans

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This is a petition to remove interest rates on all current and future National Student Loans.

Student loan debt in Canada continues to plague students and families from low- and middle-income backgrounds. 

Over half of Canadian post-secondary students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt for those leaving an undergraduate program is over $30,000. With tuition fees continuing to rise, that number will only increase. Thirty thousand dollars is a crippling debt load for a new graduate to carry, while they are working (if they are lucky) at an entry-level job with an entry-level salary. 

Nearly half of a new graduate’s monthly instalment payment goes to covering interest on the loan, with the remainder paying down the principal amount. At this rate, any given individual will be left paying off their student loan until they are almost fifty years-old.   

Public records show that revenue generated by the federal government’s student loan interest rates was $662 million during the 2016-2017 school year and $635 million the year prior. The revenues have continued to increase each year and this year the federal government will take in about $862.2 million from the Canada Student Loans Program. This interest charged on student loans means that those who can’t afford to pay up-front are forced to pay significantly more for post-secondary education than those who can. 

Thousands of recent graduates in my position are putting off huge milestones, such as getting married, having children and/or buying a house—not because we don’t want to, but because we are overwhelmed by the financial burden of federal student loans. Instead of creating lives for ourselves, we are busy worrying about the financial hole we have dug by choosing to be educated, and about the quality of life we will never attain.

Federal student loans should not be seen by the government as a profit opportunity. It is unfair to take such advantage of those who want to better themselves, start a life and obtain a decent job with their education (and ultimately pay taxes). 

An educated workforce is an advantage, and that should be viewed as profit in and of itself. Higher education should be encouraged and not penalized. I know I speak for thousands of other new graduates when I say that we are tired and very deeply discouraged. It is time to find a brighter future for all post-secondary graduates, not just those who can afford to pay up-front. 

I, and many others like me, would greatly appreciate your sharing this petition with your friends and family, so that we can have as many advocates as possible.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and thank you for your support.