Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Education: A Liberal Priority

(The following is a condensed version of the Liberal Party's education platform)

Under this Conservative government

Students have received just a tax credit for textbooks worth less than $10 per month and limited education tax credits for only those students earning almost $20,000 a year. Considering most students earn an average of just $5,000 that’s little help.

Under A Liberal Government

All students will receive an annual education grant of $1000 dollars

Tuition and education tax credits for full-time post-secondary students will be replaced with an Education Grant payable to each student every three months – at the same time as the GST rebate is paid to most students. When combined with the GST rebate received by most students, this new grant will be worth $1,000 per full-time undergraduate, postgraduate or college student per year.

All working students will receive a $250 tax credit even if they do not earn sufficient income to pay federal income taxes.

A Liberal government will create a 20-year education endowment fund worth $25 billion.

Over the next four years and in cooperation with the provinces, this fund will allow the government at full implementation to provide 200,000 needs-based bursaries of up to $3,500 per year and 100,000 access bursaries of up to $4,000 per year.

Student Loan Reform

At present, many middle-income families see their children denied student loans based on existing rules about parental income and assumed levels of parental support. A Liberal government will make all students eligible for guaranteed student loans of $5,000, regardless of parental income.

In addition to this commitment to a guaranteed student loan for all students, we will also work with our provincial partners to put an end to high interest rates for students by providing all students with a new lower lending rate of only a half a percent above the prime rate – the rate that banks give to their best and most credit-worthy customers. We will extend the payment grace period for students immediately after graduation from 6 months to 2 years and make this grace period interest-free. We will also extend the time period that individuals have to repay their student loans.

A Liberal government will increase support for the indirect costs of university based research to $500 million a year, which at full implementation will represent a more than 50 percent increase over current levels.

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