Research compiled by the Canadian federal government and Statistics Canada gives insight into the student loan debt crisis in the country, and it’s not all that different from what American students are facing.
Vice Money reports that undergraduate students in Atlantic Canada have some of the largest debt loads and have grown substantially since 2000. Changes haven’t been so drastic for students in Newfoundland and Labrador during this time, but borrowers still carry considerably high student debt. Furthermore, British Columbia has seen dramatic increases in recent years, with students there facing an average of $12,000 more in debt as compared to 2000.
One of the biggest takeaways from the research is that students who attend school in the most expensive provinces do not necessarily accumulate the most debt. Ontario is a leader in tuition costs, but is in the middle of the rankings in student debt. British Columbia, on the other hand, has less expensive tuition but a higher student debt average.
Some students are in luck, though.
Some students in Ontario can receive a low income grant which, beginning this year, gives students of families making less than $50,000 a year free tuition. New Brunswick has a similar program.
Experts say that one of the biggest obstacles is that many students and their families are not educated on the student loan system, so they’re not sure how much debt they’ll be expected to pay back upon graduation. In addition, many students have difficulty finding well-paying jobs, making student loan repayment more difficult.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of help for middle-income families. Ontario is ending its tuition and education tax credits to pay for the low-income grant. Experts warn that if Canada doesn’t do more to help all students afford higher education, it risks hurting its economy for years to come. If student stop pursuing post-secondary degrees, there will be a lack of qualified professionals for employers. People without a college diploma are also less likely to make enough money to afford to make major purchases that help stimulate the economy.
Image Copyright Pedro Szekely.