Green MLA wants government to reinstate moratorium on student loan repayments

·3 min read
Green MLA Lynne Lund says she tabled the UPEI student union's petition signed by nearly 300 students and former students asking for the moratorium on student loan payments to be brought back. (CBC - image credit)
Green MLA Lynne Lund says she tabled the UPEI student union's petition signed by nearly 300 students and former students asking for the moratorium on student loan payments to be brought back. (CBC - image credit)

A Green MLA wants to know if government will reinstate a moratorium on student loan repayments in the province.

Lynne Lund raised the issue during question period in the legislature Wednesday.

The province put a hold on student loan repayments between March and September last year to help students manage the economic impacts of the pandemic.

In February, the student union at UPEI called on the province to bring back its moratorium on student loan payments. The union wants the new moratorium on payments to run from April through September, which Lund said she supports.

Lund said she raised the issue with government for the first time last November and is still waiting for an answer.

Green MLA Lynne Lund also called on government to forgive $2.8 million in student debt in the upcoming budget.
Green MLA Lynne Lund also called on government to forgive $2.8 million in student debt in the upcoming budget. (Legislative Assembly of P.E.I.)

"Students are still waiting for an answer from this government. This is a significant monthly expense of lots of recent graduates and they are asking for help," Lund said.

"Does your government intend to reinstate the moratorium on student loan repayments, yes or no?"

'Identified as a priority'

Lund told CBC News she has received several letters from recent graduates that say repaying their student debt has been a serious hardship. She said she tabled a petition in the legislature with nearly 300 signatures from students and former students calling on government to put a hold on loan repayments.

Responding to Lund's question, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson said there are a number of other financial supports available for students.

She said government has invested in non-repayable loan options for students, including the George Coles bursary. Jameson said students don't have to make payments on their provincial loans while they remain full-time students and don't have to start repaying their loan for a year after they are no longer a full-time student. She said students also don't pay interest on their provincial loans.

Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson did not say whether or not government would reinstate the moratorium on student loan payments but says government has received the request from the UPEI Student Union and is looking into it.
Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Natalie Jameson did not say whether or not government would reinstate the moratorium on student loan payments but says government has received the request from the UPEI Student Union and is looking into it. (Legislative Assembly of P.E.I. )

Jameson did not say whether or not government would reinstate the moratorium.

Jameson told CBC News that government has received a budget submission recommendation from the student union at UPEI that the moratorium be reinstated and government is considering the request.

"It's one that we've discussed and identified as a priority," Jameson said.

"We have a number of financial supports available but certainly we're always looking for innovative solutions to reduce financial burdens for students."

Lund also called on government to forgive $2.8 million in student debt in the upcoming budget.

Jameson said she can provide answers to questions around debt forgiveness once the budget is tabled.

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