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B.C. students calling for no-interest federal student loans

Last Updated Mar 28, 2019 at 11:36 pm PDT

(Source: BC Federation of Students)
Summary

A student group is asking Ottawa to follow B.C.'s lead, calling for no-interest student loans

In its last budget, Ottawa decided to drop student loan interest rates to "prime," which is currently at 3.95 per cent

The province has already announced it's dropping interest charges on its portion of student loans

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Now that the province has announced it will no longer be charging interest on its portion of student loans, students are turning to the federal government to do the same.

In launching its Knock Out Interest campaign, the BC Federation of Students is highlighting how difficult it is to pay off student loans.

RELATED: Province eliminates interest on student loans

As it stands now, interest is charged on about 60 per cent of the student loan – the portion provided by the federal government.

In its last budget, Ottawa decided to drop student loan interest rates to “prime,” which is currently at 3.95 per cent.

Federation chair Aran Armutlu says that’s still burdensome.

“Let’s say you have $30,000 of student loan. When you look at the typical ten-year repayment period, that’s about $5,000 of interest which is a lot for students and recent graduates.”

He says the interest amounts to a disadvantage to poor families.

“We know that interest charged on student loans is a penalty on low and middle-income families because they have to borrow in order to access education.”

RELATED: Liberals write off $200 million in student loans feds will never collect

Eliminating those interest charges, as the province has just done, would level the playing field, he says.

He hopes the issue will emerge as one tackled in the upcoming federal election.

“In the federal budget, we saw that they reduced interest on student loans. We know that it is something on their radar, and that they know is something that benefits students.”

According to the federaton, student debt in Canada has increased 78 per cent since 1999.