All Posts Tagged With: "debt"
What students are talking about today (April 4th)
1. Queen’s University instructed security officers to rip down a free speech wall in a student centre because it “allegedly included language that constituted hate speech,” according to an official press release. A video of a blonde-haired officer removing the banner has been widely-viewed on YouTube. The wall, little more than paper with words scribbled on it, was encouraged by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and erected by the local group Queen’s Students for Liberty. What exactly was so offensive is unclear, but it was bad enough that the administration chose to act. “Queen’s recognizes the right of free speech, but appreciates too the limits on free speech. Hate speech and racial slurs have no place on our campus,” wrote Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) in the statement. The Alma Mater Society, which owns the space, put out a statement too. “Queen’s Students for Liberty was given an opportunity to remove these two denigrating comments, and return the space to one of inclusive, free dialogue for all,” wrote president Doug Johnson. “When the club failed to act, the offensive material was removed.” A free speech wall erected at Carleton University in January was torn down by a student who claimed it was anti-gay.
2. Speaking of free speech and hate speech, students at Towson University in Maryland are fighting back against a white supremacist group’s declaration that it will start “night patrols” on campus. At a student-organized rally, the university’s president praised efforts to peacefully oppose the White Student Union. Matt Heimbach, spokesman of white group, told ABC News he believes multiculturalism is being forced on America. Yes, this is really happening in 2013.
3. Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, annouced Wednesday that he will step down in 2014 and then he gave an interview to The Ubyssey student newspaper. Heather Munroe-Blum, principal of the equally well-respected McGill University, who is also stepping down, did an exit interview of sorts with campus media too. The differences between the questions student reporters asked are a reminder of the contrast between generally sunny UBC students and the almost endlessly antagonistic McGill crowd. McGill student reporters asked questions like, “How can McGill say that it’s part of Quebec, and, at the same time, call tuition fees sacred?” and “Do you think [the police] could have had different tactics?” Meanwhile, at UBC, The Ubyssey reporter asked Toope questions like, “Do you think raising UBC to a global level is one of your core achievements?” For the record, I think it’s obvious that both Toope and Munroe-Blum have been strong leaders.
4. Bill Clinton told reporters ahead of a meeting with student leaders that he sees the cost of college as a major problem. “We can’t continue to see the cost of education go up every decade when wages are flat,” he told Inside Higher Education. “I think the only sustainable answer is to find a less expensive delivery system,” he added, saying the next step is, “for someone to certify what you need to know and then figure out some way of validating the merits of these online courses.”
5. The University of Calgary Dinos sports teams have unveiled a new logo, which is, obviously, a dinosaur. More interesting is that Calgary also announced a five-year partnership that will put Nike swooshes on uniforms. Speaking of corporate sponsorship deals, the Petro Canada Hall at Memorial University in Newfoundland has been renamed for Suncor Energy, which donated $50,000, reports The Muse student newspaper. There once was a time when there would be major outcries against corporate sponsorship deals on campus. Apparently that’s no longer the case.
BMO: degree for child born in 2013 could cost $140,000
The cost of a four-year university degree for a child born in 2013 could rise to more than $140,000 due to tuition inflation, a new study says.
But three-quarters of parents with children under 18 haven’t made a detailed estimate of the total cost of post-secondary education, said BMO’s Wealth Institute in a report released on Wednesday.
Tuition and other costs for a four-year university degree now can cost more than $60,000, the report said.
“I think that for most people if you tell them that tuition has increased two or three times the rate of inflation they will be surprised at that,” said BMO’s Caroline Dabu.
This can leave parents unprepared for the costs and students with hefty loans to pay back when they graduate, Dabu said from Toronto.
Federal government writes off $540-million in student loans
The federal government is writing off $231-million in unpaid student loans after exhausting “all reasonable efforts” to track down the money from more than 44,000 cases by 2012-13. The government absorbed even greater losses of about $312 million the year before. That’s half a billion dollars in just a couple of years.
The government has essentially thrown its hands in the air and given up on ever seeing a dime of that money, meaning a lot of people can start answering their phones again without fear of getting harassed by debt collectors.
Now, as someone who actually paid income taxes a few years ago, I am outraged that all these deadbeats are costing the public purse hundreds of millions each year. But as someone currently taking loans to fund my education, this gives me some hope of avoiding the full bill.
Marc Garneau would extend grace period
Liberal leadership hopeful Marc Garneau is proposing to make it easier for students to shoulder record debt loads after they graduate.
The Montreal MP would do away with the current requirement that post-secondary students begin paying off their student loans six months after graduation, whether or not they’ve found a job.
He would give them an indefinite grace period, requiring graduates to start repaying loans only after they’ve found a good-paying job of about $40,000 per year.
Garneau, who is touting himself as the most substantive of nine leadership contenders, is to unveil his latest policy proposal Monday.
An engineer and former astronaut with impressive academic credentials, he has made building a more diversified “knowledge economy” one of the cornerstones of his campaign.
How Canadian university students are paying their bills
The typical Canadian university student spends four years blowing borrowed money on clothes, music and liquor, right? That may be the stereotype, but it’s not the reality. The Canadian University Survey Consortium’s 2012 study of more than 15,000 graduating students shows that six in 10 are working, the vast majority pay off their credit card bills each month and only one-third have more than $20,000 in debt. Here’s an infographic that shows how students are paying their bills.
Snoop Dog, Mulcair, Halloween, Movember & study space
1.Snoop Dog (Snoop Lion?) is now endorsing that gooey microwavable student staple known as Hot Pockets. In a video advertisement that already has three million views, he’s reworked his 2004 hit “Drop It Like It’s Hot” into “Pockets Like It’s Hot.” He may be a sellout, but that bicycle with a microwave attached is a wicked idea.
2. Speaking of ridiculous advertisements, Anne Kingston tears apart Brad Pitt’s new commercial, in which he says: “It’s not a journey. Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns, and we turn with it. Plans disappear, dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are, my luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel No. 5, inevitable.” Uhhh… What?
3. In an interview with the University of Regina’s Carillon, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said some notable things. His assertion that “the average student finishes university with over $40,000 in debt,” doesn’t match any estimate I’ve seen. (Even the debt warriors at the Canadian Federation of Students peg the average at $27,000.) He also says youth are mostly concerned about the environment. “Most young people are a little bit less concerned about the economics, except for the fact that they realize that consistent failure to invest in post-secondary education is playing tricks on them,” he added, suggesting the federal government “get back to the level of [PSE] funding that we saw before the 1990s, before the Liberals started downloading to the provinces.”
A new monkey, Iran’s student club and new world rankings
1. Scientists say they’ve discovered a new species of monkey living in the remote forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s only the second new monkey discovered in nearly three decades. The researchers have published on Cercopithecus Lomamiensis in Plos One. The monkey is known to locals as “Lesula.” Okay, so in that way, it’s not an entirely new discovery.
2. The president of the Iranian Cultural Association of Carleton University, a student group, solicited money for the club from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, reports Maclean’s Michael Petrou. The now-closed Iranian embassy obliged, providing financial support. Canada lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Uncomfortable washrooms, tuition, & angry naked folks
1. Some students at the University of Victoria are uncomfortable with the new “multi-stall gender inclusive washrooms” in the Student Union Building. The student union got rid of the old man-woman divide by renovating urinals and changing the gendered signs to show just a toilet. The goal is to make life more comfortable for transgender students. I guess one person’s comfort is another person’s discomfort sometimes.
2. The new Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) is sponsored by Molson Coors. There are multiple beer ads and beer is for sale in the concession. While hockey fans are saying “thank God,” other people apparently have a problem with it. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy, true to form, has a pragmatic response: “you can sneeze and be within 40 paces of the Gardens and have alcohol, so how am I supposed to police things?,” he told The Eyeopener, adding, “I consider the students adults and I trust them to make judgments.”
3. Two University of Regina students are seeking sanctuary in a church after the Canada Border Services Agency decided to deport them to Nigeria because they illegally worked for two weeks at Walmart. U of R President Vianne Timmons is lobbying the government to allow them to stay.
It takes a lot of creativity to finance second degrees
Last fall, when Kristen Pennington started at the University of Toronto faculty of law, she was surprised to learn of “an assumption” that students wouldn’t work during the school year. “I’d never been in school and not worked,” the 22-year-old says. “It wasn’t a question.”
During her first year in law school, Pennington held down three part-time jobs: she worked as an after-hours receptionist at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, as an executive assistant for a lawyer, and as manager of the undergraduate residence at Glendon Campus, part of York University, where she also lived rent-free. “I worked for my room,” she says. “It was a great expense to cross off the list.” The commute from Glendon to U of T’s downtown campus, on public transit, was “45 minutes on a good day.”
Highest in Nova Scotia and Ontario
A new report suggests tuition fees are becoming less affordable for many Canadians, forcing an increasing number of students to take on heavy debt loads.
The report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that since 1990, average tuition and compulsory fees for undergraduates have risen by 6.2 per cent annually — three times the rate of inflation.
It now costs, on average, $6,186 a year to study at a Canadian university, and that doesn’t include the cost of books or food or lodging.
The left-leaning think-tank adds that extrapolating from past growth and announced government intentions, that number will rise to $7,330 in four years.
The report also shows there is wide divergence in the cost of post-secondary education across the country.
One-fifth expect $40,000
From The Canadian Press:
Most college and university students who take out loans to pay for their studies expect to graduate with more than $20,000 of debt, a new study suggests.
The BMO survey says that about half of post-secondary students are taking on debt for school, and 58 per cent of those with loans expect to owe upwards of $20,000 when they finish school.
One-fifth, or about 21 per cent, expect to graduate with more than $40,000 in debt.
That’s alright. You don’t want that anyway.
You’re young, in debt, not making as much money as you’d expected and the world keeps getting more expensive.
In many ways, our parents had it better: more jobs, cheap homes, less debt. Things that once seemed so basic, so average, so fundamentally middle class are becoming unobtainable.
Even if you’re making a bit more than the guy disappointed by $36,000 (which really isn’t bad), it’s a zero-sum game with those debt payments. Saving a critical mass of moolah is all but impossible in your twenties. Meanwhile, the big things in life require saving. Like a house and kids. And you need those things to be happy, right?
Wrong. To be clear, my goal isn’t to be political. If you want to resent the baby boomers for making all that money on real estate, if you want to march down the streets of Montreal, go right ahead.
Concordia will shut on Thursday
As students prepare for a national day of action on Thursday to protest a $1625 tuition fee hike, today’s provincial budget will serve as a reminder of Quebec’s wobbly financial picture.
In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said he will not raise income taxes, which are already the highest in Canada at 16 to 24 per cent. By comparison, Ontario’s max out at 11.16 per cent.
But even with high taxes, Quebec’s debt has grown from $133 billion (53.5 per cent of GDP) in 2003 to $184 billion (55.5 per cent of GDP) in 2012. That means credit ratings agencies will be looking to Bachand for fiscal restraint.
The $1625 rise in tuition fees is just one way that Bachand plans to wrestle down the debt. He notes that while income taxes won’t go up, payroll deductions for pensions and parental leave will rise, the new $200 health charge will be fully implemented this year, the sales tax was already increased to 9.5 per cent in January, an extra gasoline tax has been added and hydro rates will increase.
But many student associations believe that taxpayers can and should continue subsidizing tuition to the point that Quebec’s students pay less than half what the average Canadian student pays.
Protesters blocked access to Montreal’s Champlain Bridge Tuesday morning. It was a prelude to the demonstrations expected to cripple the city on Thursday when as many as 100,000 may march.
Meanwhile, Concordia says it will shut down campus on Thursday “in light of security concerns” as it expects 15,000 students will gather there before marching to the bigger rally at Canada Place.
Why Canadian students graduate with more debt, not less
Canadians are graduating with more debt than their American counterparts—despite the well-known higher sticker prices south of the border.
In the U.S., average debt at graduation rose to $25,250 in 2010, according to a Nov. 3 report by the Project on Student Debt. Here in Canada, students were graduating with an average debt of $26,680 according to a 2009 report released by the Millennium Scholarship Foundation. If anything, the Canadian average is higher now.
The numbers seem almost impossible: isn’t tuition ridiculously high in the U.S.?
News comes as study reveals rapidly growing tuition rates
As some American students continued their Occupy protests on Wednesday, President Barack Obama was being cheered by other students in Colorado where he announced he will speed up his initiatives to help students overcome debt.
“We should be doing everything we can to put college education within reach for every American,” the President said in what CNN describes as a “campaign-style event.”
Obama announced that a program to limit the repayment of federal student loan debt to 10 per cent of discretionary income will start next year, instead of the year after. And he said that students will be able to consolidate public and private loans to save on interest charges.
Why our leaders shouldn’t dismiss the Occupy Movement
Jamie Weinman has a post on Maclean’s.ca suggesting that student debt is fuelling the Occupy Everywhere protests. Weinman quotes this Washington Post article by Ezra Klein who writes that “college debt represents a special sort of betrayal.” He says he began supporting the protests after seeing a photo on the Tumblr site, “We are the 99 percent.” It was of a handwritten sign by a student that said: “I did everything I was supposed to and I have nothing to show for it.”
Their point is this. While many of the people hurt by the financial crisis should have known better—people who took out mortgages they knew they couldn’t afford and bankers who invested in financial instruments they knew were overrated—students who took on debt are different. They went into debt because they had been told repeatedly by parents, teachers, politicians and the media that educational debt is a sure route to higher paying jobs. Now that we know that’s often untrue, can we really blame them for being angry?
Fees are up 4.3 per cent this fall: Statistics Canada
There tends to be a lot of talk this time of year about how high tuition fees have become. This year, the debate has been especially loud, because it is an election issue in more than one province.
And that was before Statistics Canada revealed today that tuition is up 4.3 per cent over last year to an average of $5,366 for undergraduates. Inflation is estimated at 2.7 per cent, which means tuition costs are growing faster than most prices.
The obvious problem with high fees is that no one likes to pay them. And when the issue is raised by politicians, it’s usually raised in terms of access: the economically disadvantaged won’t or can’t seek higher education if the price tag is too high. Research has suggested that children from lower-income families are less likely to go to university than richer students, but why that’s the case is a complex mix of social and economic factors, actual cost being just one, according to this study by Statistics Canada. As conservative commentators have noted, even now where tuition is highest, participation rates remain relatively high even among low-income students.
Moody’s warns that student loan lending is unsustainable
Moody’s credit rating agency warns that “fears of a bubble in education spending are not without merit.”
Their new report uses entirely U.S. figures, but considering that the average amount of student loans owed by university students in Canada is similar to the amount owed by U.S. students upon graduation, ($27,000 versus $23,000), Canadians may worry too.
Moody’s argues that student loan lenders didn’t tighten their rules during the recession, unlike lenders in all other sectors. In fact, the growth rate in the total amount loaned to students continued to grow by 10 per cent per year. That’s despite the fact that the number of delinquent loans continues to grow too, while job prospects remain low. How will students be able to pay back all that money if they can’t find work?
Two-thirds think they’ll pay off debt in five years
Nearly half of Canadian students say they will have either have no debt or owe less than $10,000 upon graduation, according to a new study from BMO Financial Group. In fact, the average owed by all students is $18,800, according to Statistics Canada. On top of that, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) think they will be able to pay off their student debt within five years of graduation. The default repayment period for government loans is nine-and-a-half years. The study included 625 college and university students and was conducted by Leger Marketing.
Minority of students feel weighed-down by debts
There’s a debate in America about whether post-secondary education is worth the cost now that the average tuition has passed $9,500 per year at public universities and $27,000 per year at private schools. But a new study by the Pew Research Center found that 86 per cent of grads feel that their degree was a good investment. Although three-quarters of the 2,142 respondents agreed that school is too expensive, most Americans with student loans don’t feel particularly weighed down. Less than half of those with student loans found it harder to pay other bills because of their school debt and only a quarter said that school debt made it harder to afford a home. On top of that, those who graduated from four-year programs were very likely to agree their education helped them grow intellectually (74 per cent) and just over half (55 per cent) said it was very useful in helping them prepare for a career.