The UPEI Student Union says post-secondary students will face financial issues if the federal government does not extend its suspension of the payment of student loan debt and interest.
The president of the union says he is thankful for the six-month interest-free moratorium Ottawa announced in March on federal student loan repayments.
But that deferral is set to expire on Sept. 30.
Union president Brian Affouan said he is part of renewing the call to push back the deadline, during an interview on Island Morning.
"It was a time where students didn't have any jobs and recent grads were not able to get any jobs during that time, so having that flexibility, it helps students to be able to gain some financial footing," Affouan said.
Since the start, he said, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has been calling for a six-month extension to that deferral — to March 31, 2021.
So far, the student leaders say there has been no response to that request from Ottawa. CBC News has reached out to the Department of Employment and Social Development.
Too soon to make students pay up
The union president said it could be very tough on students if the date is not extended.
Employment remains an issue for post-secondary students who are enrolled and those who recently graduated, Affouan said, citing recent Statistics Canada data.
"We can see how drastically affected students have been, just in terms of the numbers," he said.
A full year would allow students to catch up and "be financially stable and not have to worry about these things," he said, adding that's based on what the union is hearing from students, who say they couldn't find jobs over the summer and worry about being able to afford the cost of bills on top of school in the fall.
Affouan said some students are considering dropping courses to cut costs, which could create bigger problems in the long run.
More jobs are opening up as restrictions are lifting, which means more students may have opportunities to get back to work, but he is stressing they need more time.
The government of P.E.I. has also suspended the provincial portion of the student loan payments until the end of September.
With files from Island Morning.
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