This is great news for students who are struggling to deal with high rates of tuition at a time when the minimum wage has stagnated. But it’s also great news for recent graduates who are confronting the reality of precarious work and the widespread lack of affordable housing while also trying to pay down student debt.
A 2015 survey by the Canadian University Survey Consortium found that half of students graduating that year had student debt, with an average debt load of $26,819. Interest payments on this kind of debt over a 10-year period can add up to another $10,000. In fact, interest on student debt is so high that over the past four years, the Liberal government has collected $3 billion in interest from student loan repayments.
The NDP is also committing to moving from student loans to non-repayable grants, an important step towards making post-secondary education tuition free.
CUPE has called on all parties to make affordable and accessible post-secondary education an election priority. To date, only the NDP has announced their plan for doing so.