Liberals urge government to do more for students

8/27/2012

The Liberal Opposition is urging David Alward to give students a break and provide the same level of support being provided to students in PEI.

This fall, PEI Premier Robert Ghiz will eliminate interest payments on the Provincial Student Loan program. In New Brunswick, access to post-secondary education has become increasingly difficult under the Alward-led Conservative government.

The elimination of interest fees on student loans is significant for students in PEI. It allows them to pay on their principal exclusively, thus helping them eliminate debt earlier.

This is expected to encourage more students to stay and work on the Island, and allow them to make major investments (such as buying a home) sooner. It’s a win-win for students and the province.

Chris Collins (top left), critic for Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour, supports the move of Premier Ghiz and wants New Brunswick’s Conservative government to do more for students. “Since coming into office, Premier Alward has made life more difficult for students. He reinstated the parental-contribution clause to student loans thus decreasing access to college and university for families struggling in today’s economy.”

The Alward government clawed back post-secondary access even further in their 2012-2013 budget. As Collins notes, “This year’s budget laid out the government’s plans to provide less financial assistance to students, all the while collecting more in repayment. Moreover, they cut funding to the apprenticeship program all the while increasing fees by a whopping 120 per cent. No wonder our young people are moving elsewhere.

“Eliminating interest on student loans in PEI is an investment that will see great returns. The initial investment of $500,000 isn’t much for government but makes all the difference for students. And over the long term, there will be a significant return on a minimum investment.”

With the province’s economy in a downward spiral the past two years, Collins said it is more important than ever to invest in young people, leaders of tomorrow who will lead the province out of the economic doldrums.

“David Alward can easily find money to pay off his political friends, like Margaret-Ann Blaney. The only person benefitting from that outrageous appointment is Margaret-Ann Blaney. It’s time the premier started thinking about the future of this province, our students, instead of his political friends.”

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