KAMLOOPS – Seventy-six per cent of people in Kamloops agree the provincial government needs to take immediate action to reduce the cost of post-secondary education (PSE), according to a new poll by Strategic Research.
Measures to lower the cost of post-secondary could include cancelling interest on student loans, expanding grants to students from middle- and lower-income families, and lowering tuition.
Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, which sponsored the poll, calculates tuition revenues are $1.2 billion more today than in 2002. This represents an increase of nearly 370 per cent, while the B.C. government has cut funding by 20 per cent after inflation in the same period.
“Higher tuition translates into students taking on more debt, and that makes it harder for many people in Kamloops to access the programs they need to succeed,” says Tom Friedman, president of the Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association. “When it comes time to begin their careers, students are saddled with what will be decades of debt to repay.”
“For the first time ever, tuition revenues in the fall will account for more than 42 per cent of the University’s operating budget; compare that to 17 per cent in 2002,” says Friedman.
The province’s 2024 Labour Market Outlook states that nearly eight in 10 job openings in B.C. are expected to require post-secondary education by 2024.