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The Canadian Federation of Students is rallying their members and allies for a national day of action on February 7, 2007.

“We are calling on CUPE locals to lend their support on February 7th to the Canadian Federation of Students in their struggle to improve access to post-secondary education,” said Paul Moist, CUPE national President. “Rising tuition is a great concern to all CUPE members and their families. Tuition fees create a barrier to postsecondary education for working people. The problem is acute for the thousands of CUPE university members who are also students. Increased tuition has a high cost: pay cuts for teaching and graduate assistants, more money out of the pockets of working families and bigger debts for their young residents.  Tuition fees are user fees and just another form of privatization that hurts us all.  We need adequate public funding for universities” 

The federal Tories are threatening to introduce income contingent repayment plans.  These plans effectively ask students to mortgage their futures.  The federal government must stop dodging the real issue undermining the quality and access to university education - chronic under funding.

The CFS has done extensive research on the impact of income contingent repayment plans.  Their research explains that under income contingent repayment schemes graduates with lower levels of income would repay their loans over a longer period of time, while those in high-paying jobs could repay their loans quickly and pay less interest. Those who could afford to pay their tuition fees up front would avoid the high interest rate payment after graduation, and end up paying less for post-secondary education.

The research goes on to demonstrate that income contingent repayment would disproportionately hurt women because it would take them, on average, considerably longer to pay back their interest-bearing loans. Because many women leave the workforce due to pregnancy and still earn less than men on average, repayment difficulties would be more pronounced.

“Together, as workers and students, as parents and taxpayers, we understand the importance of solidarity in sending a loud and clear message to the federal government. We say step up to the plate and ear mark federal dollars to post secondary education No more prohibitive user fees in the form of skyrocketing tuition fees,” said Claude Généreux, CUPE national secretary-treasurer.

Visit the CFS website for a list of activities in your area.