March 2nd, 2021
PBO Costing and Analysis Request – Post-Secondary Education
Yves Giroux, Parliamentary Budget Officer
Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer
99 Bank Street, Suite 900
Ottawa, ON K1A0A9
Re: Formal Request a costing analysis from your office – Post-Secondary Education
Accessible and publicly funded education is a great source of opportunity for everyone in our society. It can transform lives, opening new horizons and new opportunities for people from every background. That makes education the greatest gift that we can give to each other, to our children, and to the next generation.
More than half of graduates in 2015 who had student loans still had outstanding debt after 3 years. Of these graduates, 29% had debt over $30,000 of which a majority was owed to governments. On top that that Canada’s youth unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 29.4% in May 2020 and is still at crisis levels, remaining at 18.8% as of October 2020.
The ramifications of continued immense debt loads will result in a severe second crisis among students, graduates, and families who will be faced with impossible choices between necessities, a place to live, food, education, and paying back loans or contributing to savings. Now is the time for Canada to demonstrate how much we value education and are willing to support students now and as we move forward through the pandemic.
That is why I am writing to you today. In accordance with paragraph 79.2(1)(f) which states: “shall, if requested to do so by a member of the Senate or of the House of Commons, estimate the financial cost of any proposal that relates to a matter over which Parliament has jurisdiction.”
I am asking your office to produce estimates and costed frameworks for:
a) Short and long-term 50:50 post-secondary education grant matching programs with the provinces and territories.
b) Federal student debt elimination strategies, with benchmarks of $10,000, $20,000, and $30,000 dollars to start.
c) Annual program values to ensure investments are adjusted with inflation, enrollment growth, and institutional costs.
Your office has conducted excellent studies in the past, and I ask you to undertake this as too many people are being denied access to education.
Member of Parliament