A wall of debt

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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There was a time when Canadians could feel proud about the accessibility of post-secondary education. Students from all walks of life and financial positions could go on to institutions of higher learning knowing that the hallowed halls were no longer the playground of the rich, the elite and the entitled.

At the time, Canada's student loan system was hailed as a great equalizer and tens of thousands of students piled up huge debts to get the same education that at one time was only available to those who could afford it. A study on the Canadian Federation of Students' website should be an eye-opener that the days of a university or college education again being the domain of the rich may just be around the corner. With students taking on higher debt loads, too many are dropping out of school before they graduate.

Our opinion -

There was a time when Canadians could feel proud about the accessibility of post-secondary education. Students from all walks of life and financial positions could go on to institutions of higher learning knowing that the hallowed halls were no longer the playground of the rich, the elite and the entitled.

At the time, Canada's student loan system was hailed as a great equalizer and tens of thousands of students piled up huge debts to get the same education that at one time was only available to those who could afford it. A study on the Canadian Federation of Students' website should be an eye-opener that the days of a university or college education again being the domain of the rich may just be around the corner. With students taking on higher debt loads, too many are dropping out of school before they graduate.

At one time, many students left university with a debt of a few thousand dollars and paid it off over a few years with relative ease. Some struggled, but there were programs available to help these people become established in their careers. Today debts are tens of thousands of dollars and there's little help when things go wrong.

Unfortunately, as governments got serious about fighting deficits they began to cut back on post-secondary funding and reduced the level of student assistance to the point that the alternatives for students were to forget school or take on huge debts.

Several years ago it was suggested governments at the provincial and federal levels could forgive outstanding student debt as an investment in our future. While this may not seem fair to those struggling out from under a mountain of debt, it is up to government to find middle ground that helps those who need it most while encouraging young people to consider post-secondary education - without having to worry constantly about how they are going to pay for it later.

Most students take on debt responsibly and have every intention of paying it back. It's these people government needs to reach out to with some sort of incentive plan that rewards their productivity in the workforce with some form of debt relief.

Organizations: Canadian Federation of Students

Geographic location: Canada

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