"With tuition fees continuing to rise, Canadian students are finding it increasingly difficult to fund their post-secondary studies," said Mr. Malhi in a letter to Minister Solberg and Minister Flaherty. "This in turn has led to a 15.8% increase in the amount of student debt held by Canadians between 1999 and 2005.
"If the Foundation loses its funding, many of the more than 130,000 students who receive Millennium Bursaries, Access Bursaries and Millennium Excellence Awards each year will either be forced to shoulder an increasing amount of student debt, or cease their studies entirely," he continued.
"In a world where post-secondary education and training are key components of a competitive economy, this cannot be allowed to happen."
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation was created in 1998 by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Since 2000, the Foundation has granted over $10 million to students in Bramalea-Gore-Malton, more than $1 billion to students across Ontario, and in excess of $2.5 billion to students Canada-wide.
The Foundation provides approximately 30% of all non-repayable grants awarded to Canadian post-secondary students. It is set to expire in 2009 unless it is renewed by the federal government.