Professors Support NDP Proposal on Needs-Based Student Grants, but Say More Still Can Be Done

Created 23 April 2013 13:04

The announcement by the New Democratic Party indicating their commitment to establishing a $100 million needs-based, non-repayable student grant program is a step in the right direction for increasing accessibility to post-secondary education, says Dr. Richard Kool, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia.

University tuition fees have increased by 99% under the BC Liberals, leaving current BC graduates with one of the highest student debt levels in the country. Anything that can help to reduce that debt as students work to receive their post-secondary education should be considered. Kool says that recent studies have demonstrated “the reality is that university graduates pay back the full cost of their education, and more, throughout their working lives, though taxes on income that is significantly higher than those without post-secondary education. There is no good economic reason to saddle enormous debts on young people at the start of their productive work lives.”

“CUFA BC encourages the next government to also seriously consider focused grants to help support Aboriginal and Metis students, particularly those entering post-secondary education as the first in their families to do so”, Kool added. “The next BC government should also take steps to create a BC Graduate Student Fellowship Program, helping our universities to compete with other provinces that provide much more funding for those going on to higher and more specialized degrees. And the next government should restore the 20% reduction (in constant dollars) since 2001 in per student operating grants provided to our Universities.”

The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC represents 4600 professors, librarians, instructors, lecturers and other academic staff at BC’s five public research and doctoral-granting universities: University of BC, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, University of Northern BC, and Royal Roads University.