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August 2, 2010

Minister Joins Students to Celebrate One Year of Interest Free Student Assistance

Sunday, August 1, marked the one-year anniversary of the elimination of interest on the provincial portion of student loans. The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, joined Dr. Gary Kachanoski, President of Memorial University, representatives from the Canadian Federation of Students and post-secondary students at Memorial University today to celebrate this milestone and its benefits for current, past and future students in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Our province is known as a national leader in debt reduction for post-secondary students and this initiative in particular was monumental as we are the only province to have taken this significant step," said Minister King. "Newfoundland and Labrador students and graduates are reaping the benefits of accessible and affordable post-secondary education. We are proud to make these investments because they are investments in the success of Newfoundland and Labrador and its people."

With the interest eliminated, approximately $5 million has been saved in the past year by those in repayment and individuals can see a savings of up to $1,800 over the life of their provincial student loan. Approximately 49,000 people who are currently paying off their loans will benefit from this initiative.

"By eliminating interest rate charges, the Provincial Government has responded to a call by students and graduates who are struggling to pay off their student loans," said Daniel Smith, Newfoundland and Labrador Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Increased funding to improve access and reduce student debt is a sound investment in the collective future of our province."

In addition to the elimination of interest for provincial student loans, the Provincial Government introduced up-front non-repayable grants, reducing the amounts students need to borrow by over 50 per cent; and froze tuition for public post-secondary institutions — an initiative which has seen an investment of over $100 million since 2005.

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Media contacts:

Tara Power
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 727-5953
Keith Dunne
Newfoundland and Labrador Organiser
Canadian Federation of Students
709-737-3204, 687-5640

2010 08 02                                                   10:00 a.m.

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