Edmonton, Alberta – Alberta’s student leaders are welcoming changes announced today to the province’s student financial aid programs. Starting on August 1, 2012 post-secondary students will be able to access student loans with fewer restrictions.

“These are positive changes that will hopefully lead more Albertans to enroll in post-secondary education this fall,” said Zack Moline, Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) and President of the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union. “We’ve asked for these changes for a while, as they should allow more students to qualify for loans. But we must keep working to ensure students receiving loans are not crippled by debt after their studies.”

CAUS has long advocated for the removal of parental income in student loan considerations and for increasing grants available to students. Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate in Canada and financial barriers are a big reason of those discouraging figures. Today’s announcement is the right step towards improving participation and our student financial aid system.

“We are happy to see the government taking action by getting more aid to students,” Moline explained. “However, we must take the other side of the equation into account. Student debt is far too high in Alberta. Removing our remission system and replacing it with completion grants just moves money around. More needs to be done so students can finish their programs without the need to take out huge loans in the first place.”