Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

June 06, 2007 11:54 ET

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation: Are Governments Getting the Most out of Spending to Support Post-Secondary Students?

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 6, 2007) - At a time when Canada needs to encourage greater levels of participation in post-secondary education, the majority of government spending to support students should be tied to objectives such as limiting student debt and easing financial barriers to the pursuit of a post-secondary education, according to new research published today by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

The report, How Governments Support Students, points out that, while spending on non-repayable need-based grants has been growing, more than half of government spending to support students is now delivered in "universal" forms of student aid, which do not take into account a student's level of financial need. Ten years ago, universal forms of aid only accounted for one-third of government spending. The change is mainly due to the 227 per cent increase in government tuition and education tax credits between 1993-94 and 2003-04. Governments are now spending $250 million more annually on tax credits and education savings grants than they are on need-based student loans and grants.

The report goes on to point out that, whereas grants and bursaries delivered on the basis of financial need have been shown to both reduce student debt and improve a student's chances of completing a post-secondary credential, universal forms of aid are not targeted and have little impact on student success.

"The growth of Canada's knowledge-based economy demands that we not only maintain our present post-secondary participation levels but also encourage those who are currently under-represented in the system to access and complete a post-secondary education," said Norman Riddell, the Foundation's executive director and chief executive officer. "The Foundation is pleased to see that spending on need-based grants has been growing, but hopes that the other findings in this report will inform the discussion to determine if, overall, we have the right tools in place to help students who are most in need of support."

How Governments Support Students is available on the Foundation's website at

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. Each year, the Foundation distributes $340 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded 800,000 bursaries, with a total value of $2.3 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students.

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  • Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    Jaime Frederick
    Communications Advisor