ONTARIO – This past Saturday, New Democrats presented their plan to help young people thrive instead of being buried in debt. NDP MP Carol Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing) said the plan includes putting a moratorium on student loan payments, cancelling up to $20,000 per student of federal student loan debt and giving new graduates a five-year head start without having to repay any federal student loans.
“Young people are making student loan payments the size of mortgage payments, spending years under crushing debt and not able to get ahead. And the COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse,” said Ms. Hughes. “New Democrats will continue to fight for young people and the health they need to get through the pandemic.”
Some 58 percent of youth have experienced an impact on their financial situation due to the pandemic. And 61 percent have faced difficulties with employment including fewer hours, job loss or absence of seasonal work, said Ms. Hughes. “Our economy won’t bounce back if young people are held back, having to pay hundreds of dollars in loan payments every month, with thousands of dollars going to the federal government just in interest.”
“An education should help young people get ahead, not leave them further behind,” said MP Hughes. “In the last six years, the government has made over $4 billion from students in interest payments, profiting off the backs of young people already feeling the squeeze. New Democrats are committed to a future where tuition is free and where no one needs to take on debt to get an education.”
The NDP reiterated its commitment to work with provinces and territories towards tuition-free post-secondary education and to reinstate the moratorium on student loan payments—cancelled in September by the Liberals—until the pandemic is over. Finally, the NDP will permanently remove interest on all federal student loans so the federal government stops profiting off the backs of young people.