VICTORIA, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - BC's new financial aid scheme is a major disappointment for students, who say that the program cut by the BC Liberals in 2004 was more generous and more effective at increasing access to post-secondary education. Unlike the previous grant program, the new savings scheme is more likely to benefit wealthier households.
"It's the classic reverse Robin Hood: Steal from the poor to give to the rich," said Katie Marocchi, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia. "It took the BC Liberal government more than eight years to come up with a replacement for the student grant program they cancelled. What was tabled today is a truly inferior program in every way."
The new scheme—a $1,200 contribution to Registered Education Savings Plan holders—is worth less than one-quarter of one year of university tuition fees.
The "BC Training and Education Savings Program" is a one-time contribution to 6-year-old British Columbians. Successful applicants must have an RESP account and apply during a 12-month window immediately preceding their seventh birthday.
Post-secondary institutions will suffer a $45-million cut in core funding by 2015. When accounting for inflation, per student funding for BC's post-secondary institutions is lower than 2001 levels. Eroding per student funding has driven up tuition fees and led to the largest class sizes in Canada.
"Students are paying more and getting less every year. Tuition fees are going up while class sizes increase, equipment becomes outdated, and building maintenance is ignored," said Marocchi.
The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of students from 16 post-secondary institutions across every region of BC. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - British Columbia
For further information:
Katie Marocchi, Chairperson: (604) 358-4732
Ian Boyko, Research and Communications Officer: (778) 686-7939