Corner Brook – In protest of cuts to the needs-based grants program, students unrolled a banner that read “Grants Not Loans” and disrupted a presentation by the Minister of Finance at a breakfast hosted by the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade this morning.
“Budgets are about choices, and this government has made the choice to ignore the youth and people of Newfoundland and Labrador and instead prioritize the interests of the wealthy,” said Sara Langer, Vice President of the Grenfell Campus Student Union. “Cuts to the needs-based grants program will impact our most vulnerable students. We will not stay silent in the face of this injustice.”
The 2016 budget cut the needs-based grants program and reinstated provincial student loans for a portion of the assistance that students receive. This change will mean that some students could graduate with as much as $6,700 in additional student debt after a four-year degree. Despite using every avenue available to them to voice their concerns, students’ calls for the Liberal Government to re-instate a full system of needs-based grants have been ignored.
“As someone who has worked multiple part-time jobs while still taking on massive debt, I know first hand the impact that these cuts to the grants program will have,” said Gary Savoury, a student who participated in the demonstration. “I want to stay in this province after graduation and raise a family here, but as my student debt continues to rise I become more and more worried about finding a decent job right away in order to pay down that debt, even if that job takes me outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.”