BC becomes the fourth province to eliminate interest on student loans.
On February 19, the British Columbia Government announced its new budget. Included in the budget was the removal of interest from student loans in BC. In the lead up to the government announcing its budget, there had been multiple campaigns, one of the largest run by the BC Federation of Students, asking that the government eliminate interest on student loans. The BC Government had announced its intention to eliminate interest on student loans previously, but had not officially announced a timeline up until this budget release.
According to the BCFS website, in 2017 the BC Government had reduced the interest on student loans by 2.5%, as a first step toward eliminating interest. Before the elimination of student loans had been announced, BCFS had calculated that “based on the current prime rate of 3.95% interest charged on a student loan of $25,000 adds to an additional $8,000 during a 10-year repayment; those with $40,000 of debt upon graduation could expect to pay an additional $12,700 in interest.”
British Columbia joins Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia in no longer charging interest on student loans.
The BC Federation of Students has celebrated the announcement from the BC Government as a victory, but is still continuing to advocate to reduce costs for students. Their current campaigns include open education resources to reduce the costs associated with buying textbooks.