OTTAWA - An advocacy group says students now owe the federal government a record $13 billion in loans and is calling for more money for post-secondary education.

The Canadian Federation of Students says this total doesn't include loans owed to provincial governments or personal and credit-card debt.

The federation says almost 350,000 students took loans this year and adds it is a bad idea to saddle a generation of students with enormous debts.

The group suggests the federal government should give more cash to the provinces for colleges and universities, sweeten funding for grad students, provide more money for aboriginal students and increase funding for summer job programs.

This should be part of a larger economic stimulus package to tackle the recession.

The federation is lobbying MPs and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in support of their financing goals.

"The best way to weather the current economic downturn is to invest in social programs, especially post-secondary education," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, the federation's national chair. "Public post-secondary education should be treated as a public works mega-project that will reap benefits for decades to come."

The federation says it's the country's largest student organization, representing over 500,000 students from more than 80 colleges and universities.