On Campus

Interest is too high: B.C. presidents

Students in other provinces pay little or no interest

The presidents of the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), are asking their provincial government to substantially lower the rate of interest on student loans. B.C. students pay prime plus 2.5 per cent on the provincial portion of their loans after graduation, compared to a rate of prime plus one per cent in Ontario and nothing at all in Newfoundland and Labrador. (The federal rate is also prime plus 2.5 per cent.) The presidents also want a longer grace period for student loans and more scholarship money from the government. Andrew Petter, President of SFU told The Vancouver Sun that the measures are necessary to encourage enrollment by more people from under-represented groups,  like indigenous people, the disabled and the socioeconomically challenged. Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto responded with a statement that says changes may be in the works. “The ministry has been working on a review of potential changes for student financial assistance in the future, including a comparison to other jurisdictions,” she wrote.

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