Post-Secondary Funding: Student Loan Bankruptcy
by Erica Elison
For women in the 1990s, post secondary education is becoming a lottery dream as the financial expenditures of such an investment only promise serious financial indebtedness. The Canadian federal and provincial governments have been reducing and eliminating various student grants, effectively increasing individual student loan debt loads. As governmental financial responsibility is reduced, the question of affordable and accessible post-secondary education for whom becomes paramount. Canadian women's experience threatens to be that of denied professional futures.
Student loan debt loads have substantially increased in the last ten years due to decreasing governmental involvement, specifically with student subsidy programs. In the province of Saskatchewan prior to 1987, students who met the needs assessment criteria qualified for up to $2380 per academic year (8 months) of non-conditional and non-repayable bursary assistance. Disadvantaged students with "special needs," such as single parents students, qualified for additional grant monies of up to $3740 per academic year. These bursary monies were granted at the beginning of the school year along with both the Canada and Saskatchewan student loans.
Beginning August 1, 1987, all the money that students received at the beginning of the school year from both Canada and Saskatchewan student loans programs became 100% potentially repayable rather than part loans and part bursaries. Two conditional student subsidy programs were implemented, the Loan Remission and the Forgivable Loan Plan, whereby students who met all the conditions can have a portion of their loans forgiven. In other words, the government will now "grant" the same amount of monies as prior to 1987 only if the student qualifiedly meets all the conditions. These conditional student subsidy programs have resulted in more students incurring massive student loan debt loads.