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Student Aid Alberta announces participation in Higher Ed Points

Originally published by Metro News March 8, 2015,  by Leah Holoiday

Aeroplan points just another way for Alberta students to pay back loans: minister

Convincing their parents to fly them to Cuba for reading week just got easier for some post-secondary students as the province will now accept travel reward miles to pay down student loans.

The program, launched in January, allows students to pay back their student debt with Aeroplan miles.

For 35,000 points, students will skim $250 off their loan.

Innovation and Advanced Education minister Don Scott called the program an “innovative repayment option” that gives students another way to payback debt.

“Anyone can donate their points to support any student perusing their goal of post-secondary education,” said Scott about the Higher Ed Points program.

Not only will students be allowed to pay with points for loans, pupils from eight Alberta institutions can also use the travel rewards to pay for tuition, meal plans and residency.

“It’s a really innovative way to address a student loan,” said Scott. “If you have friends that travel a lot hopefully they’ll be quite excited to help a student with their education.”

Scott said he would like to see a strong student aid and student loan program in the province and programs like Higher Ed Points is just one way to give students more options.

“Right now we have loans, bursaries and grants and as we go forward, I’m looking to strengthen that system.”

Tyler Ludwig, president Concordia Student Association, said anything that makes it easier for students to pay back loans a good move, but suspects most of the travel rewards will be coming from students’ parents.

“I think the only way it’s going to really work is if parents have Aeroplan points. I think students for the most part they’re not spending outrageous amounts of money to get Aeroplan points,” he said. “I think it provides opportunity for parents to pitch in in an non-monetary way with Aeroplan points.

Perks of flying

Through the Higher Ed Points program, the points are converted to currency.

Alberta College of Art and Design, Concordia University College of Alberta, Lethbridge College, Olds College, Red Deer College, King’s College, SAIT, King’s University and University of Lethbridge are the eight institutions that will be accepting the points for pay for tuition, meal plans and residency.

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