VICTORIA /CNW/ – The recent budget shows that post-secondary education funding in British Columbia will stagnate in 2011 and no relief is forthcoming for students and their families from increasing tuition fees. The budget also shows that BC’s student financial assistance budget has shrunk by nearly 20 per cent since 2009.
“In a time of high unemployment, one of the most important investments a government can make is in higher education and training,” said Nimmi Takkar, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia. “Slowly starving post-secondary institutions and drowning students in debt will hamper the province’s economic strength and productivity.”
In a poll commissioned in 2010 by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Federation of Students, 85% of British Columbians expressed support for reducing tuition fees. “British Columbians are overwhelmingly opposed to short-changing our universities and colleges and plunging BC’s students further into debt,” said Takkar.
“Students are looking for the leadership candidates to come out with a strong vision for an affordable post-secondary education system. Students and their families can’t afford the status quo.”
At $27,000, average student debt in the province is highest in Canada outside the Maritimes. Students in BC pay the highest interest rate on student loans in Canada. The CFS-BC is calling on the Government of British Columbia to follow Newfoundland’s lead and eliminate the interest charged on student loans.
The Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia is BC’s provincial student organisation, representing 150,000 university and college students in the province. The CFS-BC represents members of 17 university and college students’ unions throughout BC.