Parliament’s budget watchdog says the New Democratic Party of Canada’s plan to cut student debt would cost about $4 billion.
The New Democrats’ campaign-style pledge this spring promised to cancel up to $20,000 in tuition, freeze loan payments through July 2022 and scrap interest payments, among other measures.
In a report released today, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says the proposal would amount to $3.95 billion over five years, with the reduction of as much as $20,000 per student borrower by far the priciest plank.
Giroux also calculates that the plan’s extension of the non-repayment period from six months after graduation to five years would actually cut more than $400 million in upfront government costs.
The announcement of the NDP plan in March came ahead of a possible election this year as federal parties prepare to battle it out for the hearts and ballots of young voters.
Statistics Canada found last fall that more than 60 per cent of post-secondary students were concerned about using up their savings and taking on more debt.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2021.