How Big is Canada's Student Debt Today?

The Canada Student Loan Debt Clock

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has something special on its website. A Canada Student Loan Debt clock lets you watch student debt adding up across the country. Tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick...

It's mesmerizing, though not as soothing as a lava lamp...J

When this piece was written in 2009, the clock was under $13 billion. At writing, the clock now shows over $14 Billion for federal student loans. But as the CFS states beneath the clock, this only represents part of Canada's student loan debt. It doesn't count Canada's provincial and private student loans.

So the student debt facing Canadians is much higher than $14 billion.


Let's do the math:

Federal loans make up roughly 60 percent of the dollar amount of government-sponsored student loans. $14 Billion is roughly 60 percent of a total $21.5 Billion.

Estimating Canada's private student loan debt is harder. Individual banks and the Canadian Bankers Association tell Debt 101 they can't give numbers. So let's play it safe and assume private loans are less than 2.5% of government student loan amounts.

That still rounds out Canada's total student loan debt to over $22 Billion when the debt clock hits $15 Billion.

$22 Billion! A lot of Canadians are struggling with student loan debt, just like you...

So until we can show Canada's full student debt, watch this clock and add 40 percent!


Thanks to the Canadian Federation of Students for this important initiative - and sharing the code with Debt 101.


© Jeannine Mitchell 2009 - 2023