Struggling with student debt and finding full-time work 'become part of our culture and our generation'

A young Sudbury couple who's life after graduating from university hasn't turned out the way they thought get a chance to tell their story to provincial politicians and ask them how their government would make things easier.

Eric and Heather Gloster say they've put off having kids due to uncertain finances

Morning North host Markus Schwabe speaks with Heather and Eric Gloster about their struggles to find full-time jobs and pay off their student debt. (Erik White/CBC )

This isn't what Eric and Heather Gloster thought it would be like.

They met at Laurentian University, which they both thought would lead to well-paying jobs and the kind of stable family life they grew up with.

"Our family before us had that opportunity and they were under the guise that you go to university, you get that diploma, you work really hard, you make those connections and you will get that job," says 27-year-old Heather, who studied to be a teacher.

She ended up going back to school at Cambrian College to work at a Sudbury daycare.

Eric works there as well. The 31-year-old works two jobs and is considering getting a third on weekends to help pay off his $30,000 student debt and be in a better financial position to have children.

"I thought if I just push a little harder for the next year or two, then maybe I can bring some of our debt down and maybe we can start our family," Eric says.

Both say compared to their friends, they're fortunate to have full-time jobs and have their own house, bought with some help from family.

"It's become part of our culture and our generation, unfortunately," Heather says. 

Nickel Belt New Democrat candidate France Gelinas says she's heard from dozens of young people whose student debt "keeps them from having a fulfilling life."

She says an NDP government would forgive interest on existing student loans, while current and future students would get grants instead of loans.

"So you won't owe the government any money after graduate," Gelinas says.

The Liberal government has brought in major changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program in recent years, including making post-secondary education free for those from families making less than $50,000 a year.

"It didn't happen 20 years ago, so the best day to start that is today," says Sudbury Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault.

Nipissing PC candidate Vic Fedeli says his party will help young people by making it cheaper to pay for everything from your hydro bill to renewing your driver's license. 

"One of our five priorities is to put more money in your pocket and let you decide what to do with it," Fedeli says. 


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