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article imageCanadian Federation of Students launches new student debt website

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By Andrew Moran     Feb 23, 2011 in World
Ottawa - A new website has been launched by the Canadian Federation of Students, the largest student organization in the country, that calls on the federal government to lower student debt and improve access to post-secondary education.
Debt has been the keyword for a young adult’s life. The National Post reported last year that collective student debt in Canada exceeded $13 billion – it now stands at $13.7 billion. Average student loans granted to students is roughly $5,631.
Earlier this month, students in Nova Scotia, who on average pay back $28,000 in student loans, protested against the provincial government’s decision to cut university funding by four percent in the next budget.
This is one of the many reasons why the Canadian Federation Students (CFS) launched a new website for their campaign called Education is a Right. This website urges the federal government to reduce student debt and restore federal funding for access to post-secondary institutions to 1992 levels.
“Record high tuition fees have forced today's students to make remarkable sacrifices to afford their education,” said National Chairperson of the CFS, David Molenhuis, in a press release. “With household debt at historic levels, burying students in billions of dollars of debt threatens to bankrupt a generation. Canada needs a national strategy to reduce tuition fees and student debt."
The CFS also encourages students to share their stories about their debt burdens. One of the “top ten things you can do to get involved” is to establish a photo booth. Students would take photos with their student debt or education fees.
The website was launched Wednesday morning and it already has 78,684 people. Their Facebook page has more than 1,000 “likes.”
“Canadian families are making extraordinary sacrifices to prepare themselves for an evolving workplace,” the website states. “Past government decisions at the federal and provincial levels are forcing students and their families to take on more education-related debt than any previous generation during a time when household earnings for the majority of families have been stagnant for the past 20 years.”
The organization also cites a poll from Statistics Canada that revealed that 70 percent of high school students who do not go to post-secondary institutions say financial reasons are the primary factor.
“Students are asking for the progressive reduction of tuition and ancillary fees at public post-secondary institutions across the country, including reduced post-residency fees for graduate students.”
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