Feds roll out student loan repayment plan

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos was at Western recently to announce new investments in Canada Student Grants that will offer more flexibility for students when repaying their student loans.

Paul Mayne // Western NewsLondon North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos was at Western recently to announce new investments in Canada Student Grants that will offer more flexibility for students when repaying their student loans.

As students continue to work through their first semester studies, one local MP assured them that they can rest a little easier knowing new investments in Canada Student Grants by the Liberal government are making postsecondary education more accessible and affordable.

As of Nov. 1, the Government of Canada has eased the rules on its Repayment Assistance Plan by ensuring no borrower will be required to make any repayment until earning at least $25,000 per year, Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre, announced last week at Western.

This new flexibility will allow students to complete their studies, properly transition into the workforce and have the confidence of knowing that debt repayments will not become an overwhelming burden, he continued. This investment amounts to $131.4 million over five years.

“Young Canadians can now dream big, follow their passion and get the education and training needed to succeed in a competitive job market,” Fragiskatos said. “There are enough challenges for young people today, but a high-quality education should not be one of them.”

This change builds upon an already announced investment that saw Canada Student Grant amounts increased by 50 per cent. On Aug. 1, these grants increased from $2,000-$3,000 per year for full-time students for low-income families, $800-$1,200 per year for middle-income families and $1,200-$1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families.

“This is a great step forward in creating a postsecondary education system which is accessible for all Canadian students,” said Jamie Cleary, University Students’ Council Vice-President. “Student unions and alliances have been advocating for these changes for many years and it is great to see the Federal Government making financial accessibility a priority. Students now are better placed to enter the work force as a result of these changes, allowing them more opportunities to thrive and succeed following graduation.”

These increases will help more than 237,000 students from Ontario – nearly 70 per cent of all Canada Student Loans Program borrowers. For many Canadians, rising costs have made postsecondary education less affordable – and for some completely out of reach, Fragiskatos said.

As a result of these enhancements, when combined with provincial student grants, the average full-time undergraduate student from a low-income family in Ontario could receive up to $6,000 in grants

“Western welcomes the government’s forward-thinking approach, which allows students to concentrate more on their studies and worry less about their student loans,” said John Doerksen, Vice-Provost (Academic Programs). “Improving the overall affordability of post-secondary education is an investment that will pay significant socio-economic dividends here in Canada and the rest of the world.”