2020 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada—Department has not fully assessed the impact of student financial assistance programs on post-secondary education
2020 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of CanadaDepartment has not fully assessed the impact of student financial assistance programs on post-secondary education
Ottawa, 8 July 2020—A report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada tabled today concludes that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) did not efficiently manage some aspects of financial assistance to post-secondary students. In 2018, the government invested over $1 billion in the Canada Education Savings Program, which helps parents save for their children’s post-secondary education, and provided student loans exceeding $2 billion.
The audit found that ESDC had not thoroughly assessed the individual and combined impact of the Canada Education Savings Program and the Canada Student Loans Program on students’ capacity to access post-secondary education. It had also not assessed the obstacles that keep students from being able to repay their loans.
The audit also noted basic weaknesses in program management. For example, ESDC needs to be more rigorous when determining whether students are eligible for repayment assistance. It also needs to ensure its approaches to recovering unpaid loans are consistent. At this time, the department informs credit bureaus when people start falling behind in their payments because it considers this practice an effective way to prompt debt repayment. However, when delinquent loans are transferred to the Canada Revenue Agency for collection, ESDC stops informing credit bureaus.
The audit also found that despite repeated requests from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, ESDC had yet to ensure that the Student Loans Service Centre web portal include information to help raise students’ understanding of their financial obligations.
The 2020 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada—Report 2—Student Financial Assistance is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.
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