AMS Applauds BC Government’s Decision to Reduce Student Debt

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) of UBC is excited to see the provincial government taking an important step toward making post-secondary education more affordable for students.

VICTORIA, BC Today during the reading of the 2019 BC Budget the government announced the elimination of interest for all current and future BC student loans, making post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.

According to recent government figures the average undergraduate student in the province will finish university with $11,200 in BC student loan debt. When combined with federal student loan debt, the burden on graduates is $28,000. With the elimination of interest on the BC portion of the loan, students will save approximately $2,300 in interest charges over a 10-year repayment period— an enormous boost that will help students focus on their studies and career development.

“The elimination of interest on student loans will have an immediate impact on students who are burdened by their debt,” says Cristina Ilnitchi, AMS VP of External Affairs. “It’s a very exciting step towards affordable post-secondary education and an important recognition from the provincial government that they must take action to alleviate the difficult financial situations students face during their studies.”

Students have been advocating for interest-free loans in BC for many years and it is exciting to see the provincial government finally recognizing the burden of costs on students and being responsive to their needs. The elimination of interest on student loans means that low to middle income students are not paying thousands of dollars more for their education than their peers who can pay up front. Not only will this affect current and future students but the impact will be felt by graduated students who are still paying off their student loans and accruing debt.

There are still many crucial investments into post-secondary student support that need to be made, especially in the creation of a robust up-front needs-based grants program. The provincial government has made a commitment to making life in BC more affordable and to deliver better services – making university more accessible so that students who otherwise cannot afford to get a post-secondary education is an important path towards this goal.

Today’s step forward is a celebration for students across the province and recognition of the importance of supporting students pursuing further education. The AMS looks forward to seeing the provincial government continue to take important steps to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible.