August 1, 2009

Newfoundland Tories are more left than Manitoba NDP?

Offers interest free student loans

As you can read in the following media release sent out by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, student loans there are now interest free. This, along with a continuing tuition fee freeze, and all on a smaller budget than Manitoba.

Minister and Students Celebrate Unprecedented Initiative

July 31, 2009

Student representatives from across the province gathered in St. John’s today in celebration of a milestone in student debt reduction initiatives in Newfoundland and Labrador. At the strike of midnight tonight, interest on provincial student loans will be eliminated, making this province the first in Canada to take such action to help students reduce debt. The initiative was brought forward in Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation.

"This is groundbreaking," said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education. "We are truly leading the nation in debt reduction initiatives. Back in 2005, our White Paper on Public Post-secondary Education laid out a plan to ensure quality, affordability and accessibility across the system and we’re seeing the results of continued key investments over the past number of years. When students receive their post-secondary education at college or university, they are getting the highest quality education, but are not breaking the bank to do so."

The elimination of interest is automatic, with no requirement for individuals to make calls or complete forms. There will be no change in the monthly payments made, but the loan will be paid off earlier. However, if a person prefers to reduce their monthly payment, they can contact the financial institution which holds their loan to discuss lower payment arrangements. With interest eliminated, individuals in repayment can see a savings of up to $1,800 over the life of their provincial student loan. Approximately 49,000 people who are currently paying off their loans will benefit from the initiative.

"This initiative, the first of its kind in Canada, will help ease the burden of student loans for thousands of graduates and former students," said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "By continuing the tuition fee freeze, increasing core funding for our public college and university, expanding upon the up-front grant program and eliminating the interest rate charges on student financial assistance, this government has clearly listened to students and their families for the need to increase accessibility to post-secondary education and reduce student debt."

This year, a total of $10.9 million is allocated to make public post-secondary education more affordable for more people. This includes $5 million to eliminate interest, to increase up-front, non-repayable grants from $70 to $80 a week and to decrease the amount of spousal contributions to give married students greater access to assistance. In addition, $5.9 million is allocated this year to continue the freeze on tuition rates bringing the total investment in this area alone to $71 million just since 2005.

"It was great to get together today with post-secondary students to recognize this turning point in student financial assistance," said Minister King. "They have been our partners through the past several years in determining the best ways to reduce student debt and we will continue to work with them. We are making unprecedented investments and implementing initiatives that are being noted by student groups in other jurisdictions across the country. This is clearly money well-spent and an investment not just in our students, but in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador."

for a communist to say that a tory government has done something good for students, is really saying something.

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