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Group demands B.C. MLAs address student debt

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver



The Canadian Federation of Students is in Victoria attempting to convince legislators to cut its B.C. members some slack on costs related to their education to ease debt pressures.

The body has brought along recommendations as they meet with BC Liberal and BC NDP MLAs, including Amrik Virk, the Minister of Advanced Education.

Jenelle Davies, CFS chairperson for B.C., said post-secondary institutions are balancing their books on the backs of students.

“We’re paying more for our education than we were 10 years ago and we’re getting far less,” she said. “Buildings are crumbling, they need infrastructure changes, and we’re shouldering that cost.”

She added students were bearing that cost through user fees and the CFS would like to see an increase in funding for institutions so schools don’t need to rely on fees.

According to Davies, once the fees are added up the end result is students and young people being saddled with debt.

“Institution funding has been stagnant and actually decreased since 2001 if you count for inflation,” she said. “Schools and institutions are finding other ways to make up that difference through other service fees.”

Virk’s office confirmed it’s meeting with the students on Wednesday morning, but added the ministry couldn’t comment individually prior to the meeting.

“Our government is committed to making public post-secondary education accessible, affordable and available closer to home for British Columbia students,” Virk said in a statement. “We have a comprehensive student financial assistance program that in 2012/13 helped about 70,000 students.”

One of the CFS’s request is removing interests on such loans.


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