Student debt collection to ramp up, according to government documents
Documents suggest Harper government more interested in image than dealing with student debt, says Bilan Arte
Hundreds of thousands of university and college students walking onto campuses this week with help from federal loans could find themselves under more pressure than ever to repay billions of dollars in loans and grants.
Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the Canada Student Loans program, has set more aggressive collection targets after feeling pressure from its political masters to stem the rising amount of student debt the government must write off each year, an amount that topped $300 million just two years ago.
The push to increase collection results — and the detailed work plan to do so — are outlined in internal government documents from last fall.
The head of one of the country’s largest post-secondary student associations said the documents suggest the federal government appears more interested in image control than dealing with the issue of student debt.
“We’re seeing a government that is more concerned about the public image that comes with these numbers rather than the reality that perhaps these numbers are indicative of a pretty big crisis that needs immediate address,” said Bilan Arte, national chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students.