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Student loan debt interest canceled nationally; “we were cheering in our office”

In a time when good financial news is hard to come by, students in Canada just had a big win.

The federal government has announced they will be permanently canceling interest on student loans, a measure that was put into place during the early pandemic.

“We were cheering in our office when we first heard the news,” said Damen Robinson, the CNC Student Union Membership Outreach Coordinator.

“We have been a part of the Knock Out Interest campaign as long as I have been a part of the student movement, so at least the last four and a half years,” he said.

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The government says this interest cancelation will save the average student up to $400 a year.

“Does it solve all financial issues for students? No. But I think we need to take a look at this as a step-by-step measure, in total this was a huge win for a lot of students here,” said Robinson.

Aside from the financial relief, Robinson also said this could raise morale among students.

“As opposed to student loans being a profitable measure that the government could take on students, it is now being looked at as an investment with no interest,” he said. “It really does open up the door and create an environment of people feeling like they are being built up to be successful, rather than being used for profit. It is a small change, but it is also a substantial change.”

Robinson also said that despite the good news, the union wants to stay away from the idea of students’ financial burdens being completely solved.

“There are still a lot of ways we can make education more accessible, especially for who don’t have all the supports necessary to take that first step.”

Some of his ideas include investing more into grants, specifically, the BC Access Grant, more pressure on stopping or slowing the rate of tuition increases, and his be-all-end-all is eventually the lowering of tuition across the board.

“There are still cost-effective measures that need to be taken to make education a little bit more comfortable, but overall this is still a huge step and a huge win for us,” Robinson said.

The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, as well as a collection of MPs, will be providing more information and answering questions on the interest cancelation on Monday (November 7th).

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