Student debt is crushing the Canadian dream

By Rebecca Moase

Sept. 24, 2015

Megan McNeill worked all summer at an above minimum wage job. She hoped to avoid taking out a line of credit to pay for her school tuition.

That’s not happening.

“I still don’t have enough to even put a dent in what my tuition is going to cost me,” McNeill said.

She needs a student loan or line of credit to pay for the rest of her tuition, she said.

“It’s not the funnest thing to have to do.”

McNeill is a second year political sciences student at UPEI. She supports the NDP Party’s platform to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour.

She was employed at an above minimum wage job, but other students are not so lucky, she said.

“A lot of people, especially students, are usually stuck working for minimum wage.”

If the minimum wage was increased, students could save more money for tuition and have less debt, she said.

“It’s something that needs to be done.”

She likes that Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal party of Canada, and Tom Mulcair, the leader of the NDP, target youth.

“They need to realize that students are concerned.”

Tom Mulcair, Federal leader of the New Democratic party of Canada, spoke about student debt during a political rally in Charlottetown on Sept. 21 as part of his federal election campaign.

While travelling across the country last year, he met a couple who both had masters degrees with a combined student debt of $130, 000, Mulcair said.

“I can honestly tell you I was shocked. And it’s apparently not rare.”

We need to look at the history and find out how we got there, he said.

“In a lot of our major cities childcare is $24,000…and if the homes in your area cost half a million bucks or more…how are you supposed to start off in life.

UPEI student Jenna Pitman was at the rally.

She is interested in Mulcair’s ideas on student loans and student debt, she said

“The tuition prices are going up.”

She wants to know what ideas Mulcair has to help students eliminate their debt, she said.

“We have a ton of debt, and it’s really kind of wrecking our lives.”