Income-contingent loan repayment would help students have more cash, more prospects
In my first year, everyone was heading somewhere. Living off by-the-slice pizza and skipping psych lectures was just a temporary plan. We knew we were going to travel, write a novel, get a job with a conscience. Three years later, plans have changed.
Some of my classmates are still applying for that unpaid summer internship at the United Nations, but most know that come spring, they will be living with their parents and working overtime to pay off student loans. It’s tough to watch, because I know there is another way. I also know that the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is fighting against it.
Province has money to burn but students stuck with education tab, says CFS
“The provincial government is swimming in federal dollars,” said Jesse Greener, Ontario chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. Unusually optimistic-sounding words for a student leader, perhaps, but Greener thinks he has found evidence in last Friday’s budget that the provincial government can afford to extend the tuition freeze.
The freeze, which has kept fees for domestic undergraduate students steady for the last two years, will end next year with average tuition increases of five per cent.
Debt makes leaving CFS impossible for U of T students
Student unions at U of T owe the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) more than half a million dollars in fees, according to a recent report. The debt, which is part of almost $1.4 million owed to the CFS by member unions in Ontario, has brought up several issues, including students’ ability to de-federate from the CFS, conflict within the CFS, and U of T’s role in the student movement.
The CFS is a national organization that administers the health plan and lobbies the governments on behalf of students. Students vote to join the CFS, and they can also vote to leave-unless they owe money.
With debt into five and six figures, it would be impossible for U of T’s student unions to de-federate from the CFS in the next several years. This keeps the organization’s influence secure on the country’s largest campus at the expense of students’ freedom to choose their student union.
After it was revealed Friday that the Ontario tuition freeze that has been in place for the last two years is being lifted, student groups including SAC and CFS were moved to protest what they saw as coming out of leftfield. (See The Varsity’s coverage in the Oct. 3 issue).
But according to Chris Bentley, the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, they should have seen it coming.
“We campaigned on a two-year tuition freeze, we implemented a two-year tuition freeze,” he said.