VICTORIA, Nov. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - In their annual report, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has endorsed students' call for increased post-secondary education funding, and a range of measures to reduce student debt.
"Without immediate action on the part of government, student debt will continue to skyrocket and place education out of the reach of many," said Zachary Crispin, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia (CFS-BC). "The Committee's adoption of students' recommendations is a clear message that things need to change."
Average student debt in British Columbia falls between $25,000 and $35,000. Tuition fees have increased each year since 2001 in British Columbia, far outpacing inflation. Students in BC pay the highest rate of interest on student loans in the country, and there is no student grant program for those in need.
In the 2014 BC budget, more than $40 million was cut from operating grants to colleges and universities, causing a series of program and service reductions felt by students across the province. Funding for BC's ESL programs is set to expire this year, which will cancel programs for thousands of new Canadians and landed immigrants requiring basic language skills.
"Public English as a Second Language programs are an integral part of the college and university system," said Crispin. "If government fails ESL students, there will be a profound negative impact on families and the economy."
The CFS-BC's Squash the Squeeze campaign calls for restoring the BC grants program, reducing tuition fees, eliminating student loan interest, and increasing core funding for colleges and universities.
The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of 15 students' unions from every region of British Columbia. 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: Zachary Crispin, Chairperson, (604) 733-1880; Jenelle Davies, spokesperson, (604) 341-6850