NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Parliament’s budget watchdog says the NDP plan to cut student debt would cost about $4 billion.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Parliament’s budget watchdog says the NDP plan to cut student debt would cost about $4 billion.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

PBO report finds that NDP plan to slash student debt would cost $4 billion

Budget watchdog calculates cost tied to NDP plan announced in March

Parliament’s budget watchdog says the NDP plan to cut student debt would cost about $4 billion.

The New Democrats’ campaign-style pledge this spring promised to cancel up to $20,000 in tuition, freeze loan payments through July 2022 and scrap interest payments, among other measures.

In a report released today, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says the proposal would amount to $3.95 billion over five years, with the reduction of as much as $20,000 per student borrower by far the priciest plank.

Giroux also calculates that the plan’s extension of the non-repayment period from six months after graduation to five years would actually cut more than $400 million in upfront government costs.

The announcement of the NDP plan in March came ahead of a possible election this year as federal parties prepare to battle it out for the hearts and ballots of young voters.

Statistics Canada found last fall that more than 60 per cent of post-secondary students were concerned about using up their savings and taking on more debt.

— The Canadian Press

Related: Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Related: Excess profits tax would reap $8 billion for government, budget watchdog says

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