November 21, 2022—OTTAWA The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) , in partnership with the Quebec Student Union (QSU) are convening over 80 student leaders on Parliament Hill this week to ask the federal government for investments that will help alleviate rising costs of education and inflationary pressure faced by students.
“The reality is, it’s more expensive than ever to attend post-secondary in Canada,” said Christian Fotang, Chair of CASA. “Financial assistance measures that helped students get through the worst of COVID-19 are on the verge of running out.”
The Canada Student Grant, which helps low and middle-income students, was doubled in 2020 to provide up to $6000 per year to students, many of whom lost employment in sectors hard hit by the pandemic. Even though costs associated with post-secondary have continued to rise, the last permanent increase to the Canada Student Grant was delivered in 2016. The grant is critically important to the lowest-income students to defray debt and make post-secondary education more accessible.
“Students are struggling,” added Samy-Jane Tremblay, President of the Quebec Student Union. “Students make enormous contributions to the economy and the tax base not only when they are in school, but even more so once they graduate and find high-quality jobs. Supports for students are needed to address high costs of education, housing, and food.”
CASA and the QSU are also calling for new investments in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) for First Nations students. For 93% of Indigenous students, this is the only funding they are eligible to receive, but the program funded just 45.2% of First Nations students enrolled as recently as 2017-2018. Increased funding for this program will help more First Nations learners attend post-secondary and provide additional funding to those who need it.
Graduate students often face higher costs for tuition, learning materials, and other expenses than undergraduates. At the same time, they are eligible for far less financial assistance than undergraduates. CASA and the QSU are asking the government to prioritize up-front, non-repayable grants that will help those with high-financial need access graduate studies. CASA and the QSU are also recommending the total value of Tri-Agency student research scholarships be increased to address the rising cost of living and to make Canada more internationally competitive for top academic talent.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 22 student associations representing over 300,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. Through our partnership with the Quebec Student Union/Union étudiante du Québec, we represent 365,000 post-secondary students across Canada. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
The Quebec Student Union mission is to defend the rights and interests of the student community, of its member associations, and of their members, by promoting, protecting, and ameliorating the conditions of students and those of local and international communities. The QSU represents more than 91,000 members from university campuses across Quebec.
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CASA Government and Stakeholder Relations Officer
QSU Political and Press Advisor