Promises to tackle crippling student debt and increase investment and accessibility for BC’s underfunded post-secondary education system
“Fair Deal” plan includes hitting five specific targets and actions to make education more affordable for students and families. At the event, he explained how his plan would help meet the 21st century’s demand for educated labour and skilled jobs.
“Post-secondary education and training is the key to unlocking our province’s tremendous potential. Investing in British Columbians is essential to realize an innovative and sustainable economy,”. “An inclusive province can only be realized by making the serious investments necessary in our students and institutions.”
Noted that over the past decade the BC Liberal’s advanced education policy has been marked by neglect and confrontation, the effects of which have been devastating on both the province’s educational institutions and the well being of its students.
“Under the BC Liberals, tuition fees have doubled. Student debt has skyrocketed. Meanwhile the BC Progress Board says we’re no better off than we were a decade ago when it comes to university completion rates,”. “This policy of neglect of post-secondary education has got to come to an end and with Christy Clark it’s just going to be more of the same.”
“Fair Deal” plan would turn back Clark’s most recent decision to further slash the student aid budget by $34 million.
His commitment to improve the accessibility and funding of both educational institutions and their students is already eliciting support from teachers, students and education staff from across the province.
“Post-secondary education has suffered under the BC Liberals, while their chronic underfunding risks our province’s ability to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new economy,” said Craig Ashbourne, past chair of CUPE BC Universities Coordinated Bargaining Committee. “It’s a welcome change to see talking about the kind of practical steps that can be taken to make sure BC is positioned to capitalize on these opportunities.”
“Fair Deal” plan targets include:
- Move B.C. student grant programs from the “worst to first” by restoring non-repayable grants for year one to four students and graduate students.
- Reduce student loan interest rates from the highest in Canada to prime rate minus one percent, the same rate government borrows for its investments.
- Provide a framework for stable, predictable tuition fees for all students and move B.C.’s current high fees for undergraduate and graduate students at BC’s Research Universities to below the national average of other provinces.
- Simplify and improve student aid loan and grant applications and introduce student-friendly new standards of service.
- Protect the consumer rights of students enrolled in private post-secondary education by providing a complaints process and mechanism to rebate fees in cases of fraud and misrepresentation, re-regulate ESL schools to give better oversight and accountability to learners.