Manitoba eliminates interest on student loans
Manitoba is the first province in Western Canada to eliminate provincial interest on all Manitoba student loans and will enhance loan accessibility for students, Premier Selinger announced today.
“Our government is continuing to ensure that post-secondary education in Manitoba is accessible, affordable and of a high quality by helping students keep more money in their pocket. More than 27,000 students from across the province will benefit by removing provincial interest from their student loans,” said the premier.
“Over the past year, students in Manitoba have been calling for this change and are very pleased we were heard by this government. This will be a timely hand-up to middle and working-class learners,” said Rorie Mcleod Arnould, president, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association. “We look forward to working with this government in the months and years to come, continuing to improve our post-secondary education system and set an example for the rest of Canada.”
A typical student completing the fourth year of a university program is graduating with approximately $10,000 in Manitoba student loan debt, Education and Advanced Learning Minister Peter Bjornson said, noting this change in interest policy will save that student approximately $1,600 in interest over the lifetime of the loan. Final decisions on the implementation date will be announced along with the provincial budget this spring, the minister added.
“For some students and their families, especially from lower income backgrounds, the thought of taking on debt to pursue a post-secondary education can be a scary thing,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor, University of Winnipeg. “With today’s announcement, the government is sending an important signal about the value of education by encouraging students to take the leap of investing in themselves and their futures.”
“We are pleased to see the province continues to listen to students as the elimination of interest on Manitoba student loans goes a long way toward ensuring that Manitoba has a universally accessibly post-secondary system,” said Zach Fleisher, chair, Canadian Federation of Students Manitoba. “Students have been advocating for this change and we’re pleased to see the Government of Manitoba has responded to our concerns.”
Minister Bjornson also announced today the Manitoba government will remove an eligibility requirement on the student loan application, which previously saw students who own a vehicle worth over $10,000 ineligible for a student loan. This new initiative will reduce a barrier to student aid faced by many rural and northern students by removing vehicle ownership as a consideration when applying for a student loan.
“Many students, especially those who come from rural Manitoba, depend on their vehicle to get to class, work and then back to their home towns during session breaks. The removal of this eligibility requirement will help more students access student loans and get a quality education,” said Minister Bjornson.
– 30 –