April 26, 2017

New Report Shows Record-Level Student Debt as Significant Part of Canada’s Debt Crisis


For immediate release

OTTAWA— A new report released today by the Canadian Federation of Students reveals that government underfunding of post-secondary education is fuelling the household debt crisis in Canada. The Political Economy of Student Debt shows that student debt today is a significant proportion of Canadian families’ household debt, which has reached 171% of disposable income and exceeded the size of the Canadian economy at $1.6 trillion.

“Saddling students, graduates and their families with massive amounts of debt is slowing down the economy,” said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Young people are being forced to delay life milestones and saving for their families’ future in order to make payments on their student loans.”

The high tuition, high debt status quo discriminates against students unable to pay the cost of education up-front. Today, a student who takes out a $30,000 loan from the Canada Student Loans Program will pay an additional $10,318 over 10 years in interest. Students from low-income families continue to be disproportionately affected by the high cost of college and university and end up paying more for their education than their classmates from wealthier families.  The report also shows that the impact of student debt is gendered, as a clear majority of Canada Student Loans recipients and users of the Repayment Assistance Program are women.

“Canada’s economy is increasingly leveraged by debt-saddled students and young people to the benefit of the wealthy few and at the expense of the many,” said Arte. “Access to student debt is not access to education. Canada’s student movement will continue to demand fundamental change and universal access to public post-secondary education.”

Download The Political Economy of Student Debt.

The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.

For further information: Justine De Jaegher, Campaigns Coordinator at campaigns@cfs-fcee.ca or 613-232-7394.