Following research from Alex Usher et al., we observe that Canadian postsecondary student assistance is poorly packaged and would benefit from simplification that emphasizes shifting away from delivering “back-end” assistance that supports students with loan remission and tax credits after they have paid their tuition in favour of “front-end” money (like grants) that reduce the expenses that students initially pay.
- Reduce the degree to which students take on debt in order to attain postsecondary credentials by increasing the number and value of grants, along with increasing eligibility for grants; and
Refine student loan programs to ensure they operate in ways that are fairer, reduce interest rates, do not depend on parental-income to determine eligibility, and expand repayment assistance.
Since Canadians who do not attend postsecondary are especially likely to struggle in the labour market, it is important that these PSE recommendations be implemented in tandem with other policy adaptations to ease the time, money and service squeeze for those with less education: for example, by reducing costs at expensive times in their lives, like when they start their families which generally results in lost wages, and expensive child care. Our New Deal for Families is designed to achieve this goal.