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Now is the time to help students — MP Wayne Stetski

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
March 11th, 2019

In a recent media release, Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski said he wrote to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour calling for the elimination of interest on federal student loans in the 2019 budget.

The NDP’s BC Caucus Chair said request follows the decision by British Columbia’s NDP government to stop charging interest on provincial student loans last month.

Stetski highlighted that federal student loans make up a larger portion of the debt many young Canadians are graduating with, and these loans have relatively high interest rates.

“The interest formula for federal student loans has not changed since 2000 and the federal government currently charges higher interest rates than some bank offerings for student lines of credit,” he said in the release. “The interest rate is either variable at prime + 2.5% (currently 6.45%) or fixed at prime + 5% per cent (currently 8.95%).”

Stetski called the interest charges, “a penalty on low and middle-income students who cannot pay for their education outright”. Students relying on loans pay thousands more for their education over the course of repayment which can take more than a decade.

MP Stetski said interest relief is needed at the federal level because young Canadians are graduating with record educational debt in a time of stagnant wages and soaring housing costs. Removing the interest on federal student loans could help young Canadians move towards other financial goals like home ownership or saving for their children’s education or retirement.

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