Ontario NDP to drop interest on student loans, if elected

Government should not be collecting interest from students, says ONDP

The Ontario New Democrats (ONDP) announced a pledge to immediately eliminate interest on Ontario student loans interest, if elected.

Peggy Sattler, ONDP member of provincial parliament for London West said that she doesn’t think collecting interest off of post-secondary students is right. “It’s a big problem when a big chunk of that monthly student debt payment is made up of interest that goes straight back to the Ontario government.”
Sattler added that students who go to post-secondary schools make meaningful contributions to the economy with their new skills, and that the Ontario Liberals are looking at post-secondary students as a source of revenue.

In February of this year, the Ontario Liberals announced plans to create the Ontario Student Grant starting in the 2017-18 school year, which, according to the Government’s 2016 budget, aims to “make average college or university tuition free for students with financial need from families with incomes of $50,000 or less, and will make tuition more affordable for middle-class families.”

Tiffany White, the director of education for the Student Association, said in an email statement that the ONDP plan would be a big help, because while the Ontario Liberals are looking to alleviate tuition fees, they are not planning to reduce interest on student loans.

The Student Association funds The Dialog.

White calculated that in our situation, if she pays off her student loans in ten years, she will pay $6,000 in interest over that time. “That is more than the cost of a semester of tuition,” White said. “And that’s assuming I don’t run into any trouble with maintaining job status, no emergency travel, emergency situations  like car breaks down, house fire, and so on, and no other unexpected financial struggles occur in those ten years. That’s also assuming it is a fixed interest rate.”

ONDP announcement arrives as the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) campaign to increase access to post-secondary education shifts into high gear, as the national student union prepares for demonstrations across Canada on Nov. 2.

With files from Steve Cornwell

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Ontario NDP to drop interest on student loans, if elected