A new survey of UPEI students suggests they may owe a lot more in debt than the typical Canadian students.

Travis Gordon - custom

The UPEI Student Union will use the survey to lobby for measures to reduce student debt, says Travis Gordon. (CBC)

The UPEI Student Union conducted the survey this winter, gathering responses from 380 students, including undergraduates, graduates and students from the Atlantic Veterinary College.

It found that of the students who have debt, on average they owe about $36,000. That's 33 per cent more than the national average of $27,000.

"The economic detriments of students graduating with debt are significant," said Travis Gordon, VP Academic and External for the UPEI Student Union.

"They are holding back our economy in a few ways. The fact of the matter is that investment in combating student debt isn't just an investment in students. It's an investment in the economy generally."

The survey showed concern about debt is also hurting students' education. Forty three per cent of survey respondents said they did not buy all their required textbooks.

Gordon said there are some provincial and federal programs in place already that help students with debt but the union is pushing for more grants from both levels of government.

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