Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

November 01, 2006 12:40 ET

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation: University Undergraduate Student Debt at $24,000; College Student Debt Levels Rising

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2006) - Along with their degrees and diplomas, 59 per cent of Canadian university students graduated with debt in 2006. They carried an average debt load of $24,047, according to new research from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

A report published today, entitled Student Debt: Trends and Consequences, also reveals that, while the debt levels of university students have remained stable over the last several years, those of college students have risen. In fact, 44% of college students in 2006 had accumulated more than $10,000 in debt, though college graduates are less likely to command the same level of post-study income as university graduates.

This news, however, is leavened somewhat by another recent Foundation report. The Impact of Bursaries: Debt and Persistence in Post-secondary Education reveals that non-repayable financial assistance in the form of grants and bursaries, as opposed to loans, is effective in stabilizing student debt levels and helping students complete their post-secondary programs.

"These recent studies reveal that programs like the Foundation's Millennium Bursary Program have a positive effect on the completion rates of students who must borrow in order to undertake a post-secondary education," said Joseph Berger, policy and research officer in the Millennium Research Program.

"Policy-makers must ensure that borrowing levels are not allowed to rise so high that they discourage students from completing a post-secondary education or making a successful transition from their studies to the labour market," said Norman Riddell, the Foundation's executive director and chief executive officer. "At a time when the country must increase participation in post-secondary education to remain prosperous and competitive, it will be important to increase the numbers of students completing post-secondary studies without burdening them with unmanageable debt loads."

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. The Foundation distributes $350 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships each year throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded approximately 700,000 bursaries and scholarships, worth a total of more than $2 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students.

Student Debt: Trends and Consequences and The Impact of Bursaries: Debt and Persistence in Post-secondary Education can be found on the Foundation's Web site at

Contact Information

  • Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    Jaime Frederick
    Communications Advisor