Student union calls advice from government on credit card debt 'frustrating'

By Teena Monteleone
September 28, 2017 - 10:00am

The government of Saskatchewan is offering students a lesson on credit cards, but some find the gesture hollow given the rising price of education.

Cory Peters with the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority said, “we want to make sure students understand the costs and benefits before signing up [for a credit card].”

 

Peters said the promises of credit card rewards and extra points can be very enticing for students, but warned not all credit cards are the same, offering different interest rates, fees and rewards. He suggested researching which one is the right fit.

While a credit card isn’t a bad tool for students, the government release suggested students “read between the lines” this semester and follow a budget to avoid debt that could damage one's credit rating.

According to a recent Saskatchewan Graduate Outcomes Survey, half of post-secondary students in the province finish their degrees with an average debt of roughly $28,000. The average debt of students at the University of Saskatchewan is higher at $40,000, thanks in part to the number of professional colleges at the school.

David D’Eon, president of the University of Saskatchewan Student’s Union said issuing a press release about credit card debt is not a strategy for dealing with what students face.

“It is a little frustrating given the anxiety that students are feeling this year with the amount of cuts we got, to see this [press release] as a government response to student debt,” D’Eon said.

“I would rather see restoration of funding to post-secondary education so we don’t have tuition rates going up. I’d rather see cuts to grants and scholarships be reversed. I’d rather see substantive financial aid to students if they are really concerned about student debt in the province,” he said.

 

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