Fredericton, NB – A student debt map compiled by Consolidated Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) has post-secondary students in New Brunswick calling on government to take action and address high levels of student debt.

The map, which incorporated data on both average student debt and tuition levels, ranked New Brunswick first among all ten Canadian provinces by degree of debt and second in terms of tuition fees. Students in the province graduating with debt owe an average of $35,200 – well above the national average of $22,300.

“These numbers are discouraging, but they should not be surprising,” said Lindsay Handren, NBSA Executive Director. “The data on student debt was first made available last year. Unfortunately, government has yet to take any concrete steps toward reducing New Brunswick students’ high debt levels.”

Recent government decisions to raise the debt-cap for the Timely Completion Benefit and eliminate the New Brunswick Tuition Rebate have placed added financial strain on students and recent graduates. With no new investment, debt levels can be expected to rise.

The higher a student’s debt, the more likely he or she is to leave the province at graduation.

“The importance of retaining post-secondary graduates cannot be overstated,“ said Katie Davey, NBSA Board Vice-Chair. “These individuals will be vital to New Brunswick’s economic and demographic recovery.”

“New Brunswick is failing to capture the full potential of its youth. To do that, government needs to invest in affordable education and ensure that post-secondary students are adequately supported both during and after their studies. We strongly encourage government to take action on this issue and slow the exodus of youth from our province.”

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