FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, December 13, 2016 – The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is optimistic about the recently announced fixed student contribution assessment for the Canada Student Loans Program.
“If these changes have their intended outcome, a majority of students will benefit from increased financial aid,” said Michael McDonald, Executive Director of CASA. “The fixed contribution assessment, along with other recent CSLP announcements, goes a long way towards creating a more equitable and straightforward student financial aid system.”
Previously, the amount of government financial aid that a student would receive for their education was dependent on a number of factors, including an assessment of their earnings. For many students, this assessment was difficult to complete as their employment hours varied and/or their incomes fluctuated. Students who overestimated their earnings were left with insufficient assistance, whereas those who underestimated their income were often required to pay back the excess funding before receiving aid for the following year. With the announced change, most students will be expected to contribute a fixed amount between $1,500 and $3,000 a year towards their studies.
Additionally, the reforms guarantee that groups who have traditionally had more difficulty pursuing post-secondary studies, or who have been unfairly expected to contribute in the past, will be exempted from making a contribution. This includes:
- Students who self-identify as Indigenous;
- Spouses of students who are at or below the low-income threshold;
- Students with dependents;
- Students with permanent disabilities; and
- Students who are, or previously were, wards of the crown.
“CASA will continue to work with the Canada Student Loans Program in order to provide students with a clearer picture of how the fixed contribution assessment will impact them,” said McDonald. “Though it is still not a perfect system, the change to the assessment structure should result in a net benefit for students. When coupled with the recent expansion of the granting system, most students will find themselves with more financial aid at their disposal.”
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Communications and Public Relations Officer
Phone: 613-236-3457 ext. 224