Conseil supérieur de l'éducation

by Paul Vigneau,
Secretary of the Advisory Committee on
the Financial Accessibility of Education

Brief on the draft regulation to amend the
Act respecting financial assistance for education expenses

Last July, the Committee adopted a brief on the draft regulation to amend the Act respecting financial assistance for education expenses. This draft regulation resulted from announcements made in the budget tabled before the National Assembly in March. Six of the new measures come into effect this year, in addition to the indexation of certain parameters related to living expenses. These changes concern lowering individual and parental contributions, broadening the definition of independent status (for students enrolled in an undergraduate university program of more than three years’ duration), taking into account family responsibilities and other special situations.

The Committee considers these to be significant, long-awaited improvements to the Loans and Bursaries Program, and expects them to lead to an increase in the number of bursaries granted to students. For this reason, it welcomes the adoption of all these measures starting immediately this year. However, the Committee recommends that the Minister reexamine some of the specific elements of five of the seven measures of the draft regulation. In particular, the Committee recommends no longer including support payments in the calculation of income, reviewing the way in which income is calculated for people resuming their studies, and reviewing the parental contribution table so as to benefit low- and middle-income families. It also suggests continuing to pay the interest of students who have (or whose spouse has) a child, in the case of those resuming their studies part time.

The Committee’s brief (in French), along with its other publications, can be downloaded from the Web site of the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation under the heading ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FINANCIAL ACCESSIBILITY OF EDUCATION (Publications).


Terms of repayment of student loans

This fall, the Committee will finish preparing its brief on the second report of the expert group on the terms of repayment of student loans entitled Le remboursement des prêts pour études: essentiel à la pérennité du Programme de prêts et bourses. It should be mentioned that the first report was very well received by ministerial authorities, and several of its recommendations have already been implemented. Because the second report includes a minority report, the Minister of Education asked the Committee for its advice. In fact, three members of the Group did not want to give their support for the recommendation calling for the sharing of financial risk between the government and financial institutions—a recommendation which, along with one pertaining to proportional repayment, constitutes one of the two major recommendations of this report. (The latter recommendation has the backing of all Group members.) The Committee will adopt its brief at its meeting scheduled for November 21, 2001.Elimination of the "failure tax"

At this same meeting, the Committee will also adopt a brief on the elimination of the success incentive fees, better known as the "failure tax". The Minister of Education had submitted a request to the Committee for advice on this matter, in accordance with section 23.7 of the Act respecting the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation.

Panorama • Volume 6, numéro 3 • Novembre 2001


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