BC Budget fails students, communities - CFS-BC, FPSE

VICTORIA, Feb. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Another year, another missed opportunity to invest in post-secondary education and address growing problems with affordability. That's the message from the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators and Canadian Federation of Students-BC, as the 2016 BC Budget delivers another year of flat funding to BC's colleges and universities.

"Once again, the BC Liberal government has failed to address the growing funding crisis in the post-secondary system," said George Davison, President of FPSE, in response to 2016 budget documents. "Every year, BC's colleges and universities have to make do with less. This puts a squeeze on students and educators alike. Fees keep going up for students, and faculty have to try to maintain quality programs with fewer resources."

"The average student loan debt upon graduation with a bachelor degree is $35,000," said Jenelle Davies, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Federation of Students-BC. "For those graduates, the interest charged on their student loans is the highest of any province in Canada."

Interest of up to prime plus 5 percent is charged on BC government student loans. Over the repayment period, interest can total more than $10,000 on the average student loan.

After its province-wide consultation, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services made several recommendations to address funding shortfalls and the affordability crisis in post-secondary education. Yet the Budget doesn't lay out a plan to help students and their families afford the rising costs of attending college and university.  

"The Minster's budget shows no real plan to invest in post-secondary education," Davison noted.  "This should be a key priority for this government as a critical social and economic driver. At a time when this same government is predicting nearly 80% of future jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, this neglect is incredibly short-sighted."

The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of post-secondary students from 14 universities and colleges in every region in BC. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for 10,000 faculty and staff in universities, colleges and institutes across BC.

SOURCE Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

For further information: Jenelle Davies, Secretary-Treasurer, CFS-BC, (604) 341-6850; Leah Squance, Communications Officer, FPSE, (604) 992-1607


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