NEWS RELEASE · 13th September 2010
BC NDP Caucus
College and university programs must be made more accessible and affordable if B.C. wants to be a leader in tomorrow’s knowledge economy, New Democrat leader Carole James said today.
“People are British Columbia’s most important asset. Their ideas and ingenuity will drive future prosperity and growth. And access to a post-secondary education is key to creating the highly-skilled workforce we’ll need to compete and win in tomorrow’s economy.”
James’ comments followed meetings with students on different campuses across B.C., including a student roundtable held today at the University of Victoria, where she heard first-hand about the challenges facing students seeking a post-secondary education in B.C.
“By 2017, nearly 8 in 10 of jobs will require training beyond high school,” said James. “Yet students are struggling harder than ever to cover the costs of a post-secondary education.
“Today’s student pays 200 per cent more in tuition than in 2001, has access to fewer need-based grants and has a graduating debt load of $27,000.
“And like other British Columbians, they’re paying more for hydro, transit, and other services hit by the HST."
James has proposed specific solutions to broaden access to post-secondary, including reinstating need-based grants, eliminated by the B.C. Liberals in 2004, and lower interest rates on student loans.
“The B.C. Liberals should be making it easier – not harder – for students to succeed. They can start by reducing interest rates on student loans, to give students relief and ensure that B.C. no longer profits from their debt,” James said.