Higher Education Funding to Drop 2.2% Over Next Three Years

Created 21 February 2012 14:02

While other provinces are increasing support to post-secondary institutions and expanding higher education opportunities, the Government of BC’s 2012 Budget will cut university, college and institute funding by 2.2%

“A week after the Government of Alberta committed more than 6% over the next three years to support its higher education sector, the BC Government has announced a cumulative 2.2% cut over the same period,” said Dr. David Mirhady, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC). “Ontario’s Drummond Report, released last week, recommended a 1.5% increase in higher education funding in each of the next five years to expand the number of student spaces.”

Despite recommendations from the Standing Committee on Finance that government take seriously the special inflationary pressures facing post-secondary institutions, the 2012 BC Budget ignores the problem of inflation entirely.

“When the cuts announced today are combined with the effects of inflation, universities, colleges and institutes will receive 7.5% fewer real dollars from the government in 2014/15 to educate students and conduct leading edge research,” Dr. Mirhady said. “Students and their families will pay the cost of these cuts through reduced quality and ever-increasing tuition fees.”

Since the 2009 election, government funding for higher education in BC has been cut by 3.5%. Combined with inflation, this amounts to a 12.6% cut in real dollars. The government solution is yet again to demand universities wring out administrative efficiencies.

“We think the Premier ought to be honest and tell British Columbians that they are receiving a lower quality of higher education today than before the last provincial election and that it will be worse still in three years,” Dr. Mirhady said.

“BC is also falling behind when it comes to graduate-level education,” Dr. Mirhady said. “Alberta, Ontario and Quebec all have major fellowship programs to attract and retain the next generation of researchers, scholars and innovators to their provinces. BC recently discontinued its modest program.”

CUFA BC represents 4,600 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at SFU (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), UBC (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), UNBC (Prince George, Terrace, Fort St. John and Quesnel campuses), UVic and Royal Roads University.